- Working from home is more stressful than working in the office, 43% of corporate professionals said in a new survey. The poll of 1,076 U.S. professionals by Neuvana found that "work-life balance is nearly non-existent," prompting many to work continuously, even at home. Although 60% of respondents worked remotely at least once a month, 51% reported that working from home elevates their stress levels and a third admitted putting in more work hours at home than in the office.
- More than half the respondents also said they felt stressed when disconnected from work, with 61% saying they felt pressured to respond to work-related communication around the clock. A majority — 82% — also said they'd been contacted by a colleague about a work matter on a personal channel while off the clock.
- While vacation is supposed to be a time for workers to de-stress, nearly half of the respondents said the pressure to be always "on" and electronically connected to work makes this allotted time off more stressful than it's worth. The respondents added that taking vacation time puts them behind in their work, forcing coworkers to pitch in while they're out.
Despite feeling pressured to always be connected to work, employees should use vacation time to unwind, decompress and get revitalized. But a WorldatWork study found that 37% of workers don't take all their allotted paid time off (PTO), a habit that can lead to a burned out and unhealthy workforce. However, one way employers can discourage employees from being connected to the office 24/7 and to take their allotted time off is by adopting "use it or lose it" policies that prevent them from carrying leftover days from year to year, WorldatWork noted.
Even as workers leave much of their PTO "on the table," generous PTO offerings rank high on their list of must-have benefits. As a highly ranked benefit, PTO can be an effective recruiting and retention strategy, according to a 2019 report by BerniePortal, an HRIS service. In fact, the report found that drafting and maintaining a competitive PTO policy was a top concern of the HR professionals in the report. A third of the respondents said the average number of PTO days was below 10, while another third said they planned to expand PTO. A more generous PTO policy could be the hook that gets more workers to take time off and disconnect from work.
When workers do request vacation time, managers must be able to accommodate them fairly while maintaining productivity. To manage vacation requests, talent managers offered HR Dive these tips:
- Have a vacation policy.
- Approve requests as they're received.
- Encourage employees to work out conflicting requests.
- Plan ahead for office coverage.
- Focus attention on non-vacationers, who may have over-heavy workloads.
- Recommend mini-breaks.
- Take time off as an example to employees.
- Avoid checking in on vacationing workers.
- Resolve workload problems.
- Hire interim workers to fill in.