Half Of U.S. Workers Don't Use Vacation Time, Study Shows - InformationWeek

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Half Of U.S. Workers Don't Use Vacation Time, Study Shows

Managers take more vacation time than their underlings, but they're also tethered to the office by their BlackBerrys and cell phones.

Feeling all worn out? Like you really could use some time away from your co-workers, your desk and all your devices that ring, beep or vibrate 24 hours a day?

Well, then maybe you should just take that time off.

More than half of workers simply don't use all of their vacation time, according to a report from Hudson, a worldwide recruitment service. The study, which is based on a national poll of 2,082 U.S. workers, showed that 56% do not use all of their allotted paid time off. The report released Wednesday shows a full 30% said they take less than half of their days off. Plus, one in five workers reported that they only plan on getting away for long weekends this year without taking a full vacation.

If you're not management, the news is even worse. While your manager is off eating noodle salad by the lake this summer during his long vacation, you'll be left to take a weekend off here and there.

"On top of accommodating workers' personal needs on a day-to-day basis, managers need to make sure employees are taking sufficient time away from the office," said Peg Buchenroth, senior vice president, human resources at Hudson, in a written statement. "Modern technology makes staying in constant contact very easy, so it takes some effort for people to disconnect. However, the benefit of employees taking that time often comes through in improved job satisfaction and greater productivity."

The Hudson study also noted that it's all about workers feeling the need to stay connected and to keep producing. The problem is not that employers aren't making the time available to be taken. People are just hesitant to take it.

Nearly half of employees receive more than 11 vacation days each year. And 51% indicate that their company designates a certain number of days for sick, personal and vacation time, while 28%t are provided with a bank of time to use as they see fit.

"Employers are taking notice of the demands of workers who want a work-life balance that allows them to have a personal life alongside their professional one," said Buchenroth. "Providing a flexible approach to employees' lives outside work is going to help employers retain key individuals who do not feel as if they have to choose one or the other."

Managers, though, are much better about scheduling their own time off than worrying about their workers taking any real vacation time.

Managers anticipate taking more time this year, as 53% have plans to take both a full vacation and a long weekend. Non-management types are more likely than managers to expect to only get away for long weekends.

When managers are away from the office, though, it doesn't mean they're not still in contact.

The Hudson study showed that 35% of the managers surveyed check in with the office frequently when they're on vacation, often daily. Only 14% of non-managers do the same. In fact, 34% of managers and 18% of non-managers say their bosses expect them to be accessible on vacation.

And maybe most sad of all is that 27% of managers return to the office more stressed than they were when they left for vacation.

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