Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

August 19 2014

40 Percent Of Employees Are Failing To Take Advantage Of This Big Perk

By Corey Domek

Do you work to live or live to work? It’s a question plenty of employees are struggling to answer. Most workers want to dedicate just as much energy to their personal well-being as they do to their professional performance, but new research reveals that many of them are putting their personal days on the back burner.

The U.S. Travel Association recently commissioned GfK Public Affairs and Corporate Communications to survey more than 1,300 American employees about their attitudes toward using paid time off. The findings show that 40 percent of American workers will leave vacation days on the table this year.

“Americans suffer from a work martyr complex. In part, it’s because ‘busyness’ is something we wear as a badge of honor,” Roger Dow, President and CEO, U.S. Travel Association, says. “But it’s also because we’re emerging from a tough economy and many feel less secure in their jobs.”

“Unfortunately, workers do not seem to realize that forfeiting their vacation time comes at the expense of their overall health, well-being and relationships,” Dow adds.

SEE ALSO: Americans Failed To Take 500 Million Vacation Days Over The Past Year

Why Everyone Is Staying At The Office

Not surprisingly, the primary reasons that employees are failing to leave work involve — you guessed it — work. Forty percent of respondents indicated that they fear that taking a vacation will inevitably lead to returning to a mountain of to-do items while 35 percent of employees feel that no one else can perform their jobs.

However, failing to take paid vacation days does not rest squarely on each employee’s shoulders. The research highlights that many organizations are failing to make sure employees recognize that PTO is actually meant to be used. Sixty-seven percent of respondents said that their companies either send mixed messages about using PTO or actually discourage taking it.

SEE ALSO: The Warning Sign That You’re Working Too Much

Workers Have Bad Vacation Role Models

It appears that organizational leaders may be setting bad examples when they take their own vacations. Many of them stay plugged into work when they’re supposed to be daydreaming on a beach. Forty-six percent of managers continue to respond to emails and nearly 30 percent still return work phone calls during vacations. It’s easy to see how employees with promotional aspirations might look to these leaders and worry that ditching their work duties could make them seem less committed to the company.

While plenty of organizations want to keep employees confined to their cubes throughout the entire year, some companies are very serious about helping team members find opportunities to recharge. Evernote has no limits on vacation time and will pay employee $1,000 to take time away. HubSpot has no vacation policy and trusts that people will use “common sense with regards to taking an appropriate amount of time off.”

Looking for a new career opportunity with more vacation time? Click here to check out the most recent openings in the meetings industry.

1 Comment

  1. 1 Lisa Bower 22 Aug
    Employers can help encourage time off with family by supporting ways to integrate work and family.  Employees find it difficult to completely disconnect so employers should consider creating an opportunity for vacation tied to an existing off-site meeting - especially if the meeting is taking place in a family-friendly destination (think Orlando, Chicago, Nashville, etc.)  By offering a quality children's program that goes beyond child-care, parents can focus on business and networking goals of the meeting knowing that their children are engaged in innovative activities and experiences of their own.  When the meeting is over, employees can extend their stay to enjoy some time with family - instead of buying Mickey Mouse ears at the Orlando airport and flying home on a Friday.  This encourages leisure time with family and helps off-set the cost for the parent.  Satisfaction with family is the number one driver of employee well-being and that impacts employee engagement, productivity and health.  

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