Summer Vacation Takes a Back Seat to Work

Are you feeling more and more like there is no escape from the office? You are not alone.

More than one-third of workers will be taking the office with them on vacation this year, according to a recent survey. Sixteen percent of workers say their supervisors expect them to stay in touch while on vacation and 19 percent plan to check in voluntarily. Of these workers, 61 percent will be checking voicemail or email on a daily basis.

Taking a break from the daily grind gives workers the chance to recharge and return to the office ready to take on new challenges. While four in 10 workers say a getaway of three to five days is enough to refresh them, 17 percent say they will be taking a shorter vacation or no vacation at all this year. Forty-four percent plan to take more than five days.

"Sixty-eight percent of workers report feeling burned out at the office," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of Human Resources for "A little rest and relaxation can make a world of difference in an employee's performance and overall happiness with his/her job. If an employee is at the beach with the kids, but is preoccupied with work and reaching for the phone to check in with the boss, it defeats the whole purpose of getting away."

One in two workers say they feel stressed at the office. Twenty-two percent of these workers indicate they will still experience some degree of stress while taking time off, as they are required to keep in touch with their employers. Stressed workers also indicate the number one event they have postponed to progress in their careers was taking vacations, followed by spending time with their family and friends and plans to travel.

To enable workers to enjoy their vacations without worry, Haefner offers the following tips on preparing for and preserving time off:

  • Give plenty of notice for vacation dates.
  • Schedule vacations before large projects begin or after they are completed.
  • If required, cross-train other workers to help out in your absence.
  • Alert co-workers to your absence by giving an alternative contact via voicemail or automated response on email. If people know you are not checking in for a week or two, they are inclined to seek help with someone else while you are gone.
  • If your job is mission-critical, leave a number for emergency use only.
  • Set an example: supervisors should lead the way by taking scheduled vacations without workplace interruptions.
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