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annual leave

Workers won’t take time off? Here’s why.

In a survey, most employees said cost is their top barrier to vacations, but heavy workloads and a lack of paid time off played a role, too.

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38% of U.S. workers surveyed have refrained from taking any time off in the past 12 months.
Leaders should be encouraging time off especially during stressful periods.
25% admitted to checking work email and messages.

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As the holiday season draws near, a recent report from Eagle Hill Consulting reveals that 38% of U.S. workers surveyed have refrained from taking any time off in the past 12 months, as of November 16.

This trend is more pronounced among specific demographics, with 59% of low-income employees, 46% of Gen Z workers, and 46% of those without a college degree reporting that they haven’t taken time off.

Melissa Jezior, the President and CEO of Eagle Hill Consulting, emphasized the mutual benefits of employees taking time away from work. She noted that such breaks often result in employees returning more energized and focused, ultimately benefiting both the employees and their employers.

The survey, which included responses from over 1,300 U.S. workers, highlighted that 46% cited the expense of taking time off as a hindrance to a fully unplugged vacation. Other reasons included self-imposed pressure to stay on top of work (30%), a heavy workload (27%), a lack of colleagues available to cover their workload (26%), and a lack of paid time off (25%).

Even when employees do take time off, the report indicates that not all fully disconnect.

Even when employees do take time off, the report indicates that not all fully disconnect. Approximately 56% claimed to fully detach during vacations, while 25% admitted to checking work email and messages.

The survey also found that 45% of workers reported experiencing burnout at work, with higher numbers among women and those aged 18-34.

Melissa Jezior emphasized the importance of leaders encouraging time off, especially during the stress-inducing holiday season, as a means to combat burnout. Another survey from Monster echoed these sentiments, with a majority of workers reporting negative effects during the holidays, increased stress levels, and a decline in overall well-being.

An Indeed survey further supported these findings, revealing that only a minority of workers currently feel a sense of well-being, energy, belonging, and trust in their jobs, despite the majority believing it’s possible to be happy at work.

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