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Employees are Burning Out – Encourage Vacations – They Need It!

September 10, 2021

By Heather Nezich, courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

Many workers are worn out and ready to make up for lost vacation time, new research from global staffing firm Robert Half suggests. More than 4 in 10 professionals surveyed (44%) said they are more burned out on the job today compared to a year ago, up from 34% in a similar 2020 poll. Nearly half of employees experiencing increased fatigue (49%) blame it on a heavier workload.

Research from Robert Half shows many workers are burned out and ready for a vacation, if they didn’t already take one this summer.  Even so, maybe they need another one!

  • 25% forfeited time off in 2020
  • 33% plan to take more than 3 weeks off in 2021
  • 28% can’t fully disconnect while on vacation
  • 57% crave an “awaycation” to travel and completely unplug from work

“After enduring more than a year of long hours and little time off, many workers are feeling burned out and need a break to relax and refresh,” said Paul McDonald, senior executive director at Robert Half. “Running on empty can have a negative effect on employees’ mental health and well-being, and managers should make it a priority to encourage their teams to enjoy a well-deserved vacation.”

Managers should make it a priority to encourage their teams to enjoy a well-deserved vacation and unplug.

But unplugging can prove difficult for 28% of employees, who admit they check in with work frequently when on vacation.

McDonald added, “Managers can foster a vacation-friendly culture by taking time off themselves and disconnecting as much as possible when they do. Planning for staff absences — including bringing in contract professionals — can also help ease people’s anxiety about missing work, minimize disruptions, and ensure continued productivity.”

How to Reduce Burnout

  • Approach employee mental health thoughtfully and with empathy. By being empathetic, you can persuade employees to share their stories about what they’re going through on the job. Keep in mind that your best performing employees are the most likely to experience burnout. The ones consistently going the extra mile are the most vulnerable for burn out.
  • Communicate more often. In a Robert Half survey of managers in the U.S., 45% said their company started offering mental health resources last year, and 49% say they have created general wellness programs in response to the pandemic.  But managers still need to communicate with their staff. These programs can’t uncover everything, and not everyone will participate.
  • Give workload relief. People having too much work to get through the day is at least partly due to staff cuts companies have had to make because of the pandemic’s economic effects.  Some ideas to offer relief include:

o   Bring in a contract worker.

o   Offer “windowed” working – allow them to break up their workday with breaks to take care of personal responsibilities, from laundry to childcare.  Knowing you don’t have to be on 100% of the time from 8a-5p can lift a huge burden for employees.

  • Give them time off. Make sure your most productive and engaged employees are utilizing their vacation time and actually “checking out” while on vacation.
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