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Glassdoor survey reports Americans forfeit half of their earned vacation/paid time off

June 2, 2017

By Michael Burns, courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

It has been long said that Americans do not take as much vacation time off as their European counterparts and appear to work more and leisure less. A recent survey sponsored by Glassdoor, an online job site that also provides information on company culture for employees, found that most American workers only used half (54%) of their accrued vacation/paid time off in the past 12 months. 

What the Glassdoor survey also found is that while on vacation American workers still do some work and stay connected to their workplace. 54% percent of survey respondents report they stay in touch with what is going on at work while on vacation. In fact, 27% of respondents report they must stay aware of work issues and engage in any situations requiring their attention while they are away. Further, 12% of employees report they must be reachable while on vacation/paid time off as well as deliver work and/or participate in conference calls while on vacation.

The survey also found that workers take calls from a co-worker (24%) and by their boss (20%) during vacations. Who among us while on vacation has not thought of work at least a few times as the end of the vacation approaches? This survey found 23% of respondents had difficulty not thinking about work.

What drives employees to stay engaged with work while on vacation? According to the survey the reasons are: 1) so they do not fall behind (34%), 2) they believe no one else at the company can do the work while they’re out (30%), 3) they are just that dedicated to the company (22%), and lastly some feel they can never disconnect (21%).

If honest, most workers and employers would likely acknowledge staying engaged with work during true vacation time happens very frequently. Vacations seem to have less purpose today.  The true meaning of vacation is to vacate work in order to re-charge and re-energize oneself.  This is not happening.

Workers and employers should keep that last thought in mind as we approach our favorite time of year – summertime. Take your vacations and enjoy them.

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