The COVID-19 pandemic saw an alarming rise in burnout amongst workers. A solution to this issue, for many employees, is to take some well-deserved time off and avoid looking at work emails at all costs.
However, many in the US can no longer afford to do this. At least this is what Eagle Hill Consulting found after speaking to 1,000 American employees.
Despite 49% of respondents admitting they feel burnt out, 42% have not taken a vacation this year. When asked what was stopping them from taking time off, 47% noted the expense of taking a vacation, while 31% felt pressure to stay on top of their workload.
Concerningly this pressure extends to the struggle in finding someone to cover work, with a quarter of those surveyed worried time off will not be possible because no one can take on their workload.
Given that the ‘Great Resignation‘ has led to skills shortages, it is unsurprising that companies are increasingly reliant on remaining staff. However, this over-reliance creates a dangerous cycle of too much work, burnout, and potential attrition.
On top of that, even when employees are taking time off from work, they are struggling to actually rest. 28% say they check their work emails and messages when on holiday, and 6% continue to work but from a different location.
Vacations for productivity
Discussing the need for time off, Melissa Jezior, president and chief executive officer of Eagle Hill Consulting, noted: “Employees really need time to disconnect from work, especially as we continue to see high burnout levels across the US workforce.
“And ideally, employees should fully disengage from work rather than constantly checking email and responding to messages.”
In terms of the positives time off brings to the workplace, Jezior noted: “It’s not just employees who benefit from taking time off.
“When there is time to rest and take a break from job pressures, employers are far more likely to have an engaged workforce at its peak performance.
“It’s incumbent upon employers to create a culture that encourages employees to both regularly take time off and fully unplug from their job while they’re away.”
Evidently, employees need time off to be at their best, and engaged employees are also far more likely to stay in their vital positions. The next step is ensuring that positions pay enough to enable workers to have rest.
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