Thursday, June 18, 2009

Are You Afraid to Take a Vacation This Year?

Are you afraid to take a vacation this year?

The answer may depend on how secure you feel with your job right now. But if a recent study is any indication, the answer may be that instead of hauling your butt to the beach, you're going to make sure it's glued to your office chair.

According to a recent Towers Perrin survey of 650,000 workers, fewer people are "seriously considering" leaving their job: 71 percent reported they're not looking for work right now, up from the 64 percent recorded last year. Clearly, workers aren't messing with what they've got, whether they like it or not. They know the job market is tough, and they're hunkering down.

How is this impacting the way employees work? Looks like it means they're giving up some work/life balance -- and not complaining about it. While 55 percent of workers said they could balance work and personal responsibilities (down from 62% last year), the report found that "increased anxiety about work/life balance doesn't appear to be a function of a change in company policies."

Specifically, the study found that 70 percent of employees say their work schedules give them enough flexibility to meet personal and family needs, which is just about what it was last year.

"This suggests," the report says, "employees can't, or won't, take advantage of the flexibility they do have and may be putting pressure on themselves to work longer hours, whether to deal with expanded workloads, help overtaxed colleagues or protect their jobs."

So, I ask again: Are you afraid to take a vacation this year?


Amber Shah said...

Absolutely not!

Vacation time is not only part of your compensation package, fair and square, but it's also necessary to avoid burnout ESPECIALLY for employees putting in long hours.

What's next, giving your employer some of your paycheck back, just to keep your job over another guy? How about moving into your office so you can work 24/7?

If you're that desperate, spend some time working on a side biz at and use your vacation to spend extra time on your side biz. OR you could just, you know, grow a pair and use your hard earned vacation to relax!

Anita said...

Work for free? Employers are already asking it of employees, and employees are saying "yes."

I do believe that everyone needs vacation time, but not everyone is cut out to run a side business, or even wants to. I don't think it's clearcut -- many people are stuck in jobs with few options, and have families to support. Many just feel like they want to hold on to what they've got, no matter what.
Thanks for your comments.

David Benjamin said...

The question will vary between self employeed/consultants and employees. As the former, I control my schedule so vacation is a non issue. Take it whenever I want.

As an employee, I feel that as Amber stated earlier, if your comp plan calls for vacation, you are entitled to take it. Now, the time at which you can get approved for a vacation may vary based on what is happening with the company.

A good company will recoginize how important it is for their employees to take vacations, recharge the batteries, especially in these more stressful times.

Anita said...

I agree with both you and Amber that smart companies will greatly encourage employees to take vacation, knowing that the employee not only deserves it and has earned it, but it makes sense to have the employee recharge their batteries in order to really make an impact when they return. Still, you gotta wonder about how many managers with cut-to-the-bones staff encourage afraid-I'll-lose-my-job employees to take time off anytime soon.

Linda Ferrante LoCicero said...

Bad idea for employers to discourage taking earned time off. Times are bad enough for some people that the time off to regroup and refresh is that much more important. If employers do try to discourage it, the backlash will be less committed employees, bad economy or not. As an employer, I encourage employees to take time off when they've earned it. I don't need to know why, just that you have it coming and that it doesn't conflict with someone else's time off. Go, enjoy, and come back ready to jump back in!

Anita said...

You've certainly touched on an important topic -- how employers can keep employees engaged in tough times. I've seen several recommendations, including encouraging employees to take their scheduled vacations. Still, you have to wonder how much of this is really happening with the day-to-day challenges now being faced.
Thanks for adding your thoughts.

Joe Lavelle said...

Hi Anita - This is a thought provoking post and I understand how people that are in insecure positions at struggling companies might be apprehensive.

I agree with you that everyone needs vacation time and I can't wait to take off with my family tomorrow for our yearly 2 weeks at the beach.

So I guess I will keep trying to lead by example...

Best wishes! -Joe

Anita said...

Hear that? That's thousands of cubicle-trapped workers screaming in jealousy as you head to the beach.:)

(Have a good time.)