- Independence Day in the U.S. falls on a Wednesday this year, but that's not stopping workers from extending their July 4 celebrations by a day or two, an Office Pulse survey found. Half of the employees polled plan to take vacation time around July 4, causing concerns: about one in five managers queried by Office Pulse report feeling overwhelmed by the high volume of vacation requests.
- Citing June 2018 statistics from AAA, Office Pulse said 46.9 million Americans will travel 50 or more miles away from home this Fourth of July, the highest number since AAA began tracking 18 years ago. Only 14% of professionals in the Office Pulse survey said they "resent their employer for their treatment of vacation time."
- Other results in the Office Pulse survey showed that 19% of respondents who plan to return to work on Thursday say they'll be "extra tired" or "hungover," including 30% of millennial respondents and 10% of boomer respondents.
Major holidays are popular vacation times that can leave managers scrambling to find enough employees to cover work schedules. Encouraging workers to submit their vacation requests early using a first-come, first-served system for granting time off allows managers to plan work-schedule coverage ahead of time. Employees won't always be pleased with their vacation options, but having a fair system for granting requests is best practice.
Holidays also create moments for employees to de-stress; one or two weeks off can even boost employee engagement, according to a new O.C. Tanner study. That said, many employees struggle to find time to take that time off; a Project: Time Off study shows that while employees are taking more vacations now than previously, many still leave unused days on the table. A recent CareerBuilder study shows that 61% of workers are burned out on their jobs, yet 33% don't take enough time off to decompress. Even among those in the CareerBuilder study who do take enough time off, one in three stay wired to the office while they're out.
Many employees who don't take enough vacation time, or hardly any at all, say their organizational culture makes them feel guilty about taking time off from work. But the adverse impact of stress on people's health, productivity and healthcare costs should compel employers to encourage workers to take their vacations. The top five stress symptoms, according to CareerBuiler, are constant fatigue, sleeplessness, aches and pains, high anxiety, and weight gain, conditions that raise healthcare costs and drain productivity.
Then there's the issue of actually getting away from the office — even when you're away from it. Employers can discourage workers from staying connected to the office while vacationing. They also can forbid workers from carrying over unused vacation from one year to the next.