Bigger workloads and tighter deadlines resulting from staff reductions, together
with paranoia about becoming the next get a pink slip, translate to a greater
reluctance by employees to use their vacation time.
USA Today has compiled some statistics that illustrate the trend:
- Nearly 50 percent of the executives surveyed by Cleveland-based search firm
Management Recruiters International said they expected to make fewer vacation
plans in 2003. The primary reason? Demands of the job.
- Workers are taking 10 percent less vacation time this year than they did
last year, according to a May poll by Expedia.com. Twelve percent report taking
no vacation at all, and one in five said they feel guilty taking time off.
For employers, the all-work-no-play attitude has both benefits and liabilities.
On one hand, it's a financial windfall. Expedia.com found that workers hand
over more than $21 billion in unused vacation days to their employers annually.
But the lack of time off can lead to overly stressed employees, experts told
USA Today. The newspaper's own poll, conducted with Gallup, found four in 10
Americans reporting that they have a limited amount of time to relax, including
14 percent who say they "never have time" for it.
The stress that develops from a lack of down time can dampen morale and hamper
productivity, according to USA Today.
Because of that, the employers eager to retain their workers are revamping
vacation policies allowing workers to carry over unused vacation days
rather than forfeiting them. Sixty percent of employers allow workers to retain
their unused vacation days, according to a poll by Mercer Human Resource Consulting.
That's up from 1999, when 46 percent of employers allowed the practice.