working-vacation

A recent survey suggests your employees may have one eye on the Christmas tree and the other on their smartphone this holiday season.

The survey found that, while 41% of respondents plan to take extra time off during the holidays, 25% of them expect to work during their vacation time and 13% say they may do the same. Men, at 30%, were more likely than women, at 19%, to say they planned to work on vacation days.

Encouraging employees to take time off is key to maintaining a healthy workforce, says Frances Mote, principal of Niagara Street Consulting, a Toronto-based boutique HR firm. "This is our time to rest, recharge and reconnect with people and things in our lives that are important to us. We may control so little of what happens in our working life that it becomes more important to control our time off."

Of those planning to work through their vacation, 15% say they will be available full-time and working "a great deal," 36% will work a "moderate amount" to keep projects moving and 40% will only check voicemail and email when necessary.

"An organization's culture needs to support employees in using their time off to rest themselves to come back productive and engaged," says Mote. If employees aren't taking full advantage of their vacation time, meaning no checking email or phone messages, Mote says senior leaders need to ask them why.

The survey asked respondents that exact question and learned that 54% who say they'll work through the holiday do so to avoid tasks piling up, 27% "don't like being out of the loop" and 25% say they'll work because they enjoy it. Only 10% say they'll work on vacation days because their boss requires it.

Mote adds that CEOs need downtime too and that employees are more likely to embrace the idea of a truly work-free vacation when they see their boss doing so.

Harris Interactive conducted the poll of 2,500 American respondents in 10 major cities on behalf of Denver-based Inspirato, a members-only luxury vacation home rental club.

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