-Half of Canadians have been discouraged from using their vacation time by co-workers and bosses.-
There is a clear business case to take vacation for both the employee and their organization and we, as Canadians value our time off, so why don’t we take our vacation? According to a new study, 96 per cent of Canadians say it’s important for them to take time off work, but only 66 per cent take all of the time they’re owed – which may be attributed to a rising workplace trend called “vacation shaming.”
In this study, conducted by research firm Maru/Blue, showed that half of Canadians have experienced vacation shaming, where their co-workers or bosses use guilt or peer pressure to discourage employees from using their vacation time. The trend is most prevalent among millennials, with nearly two-thirds (62%) saying they’ve encountered vacation shaming in the workplace.
Many of us assume that taking time off will negatively impact our career trajectory, but evidence suggests employees that take their vacation have increased productivity, creativity, and decreased stress and risk of burnout, making them more likely to get promotions and raises. Ultimately, the payoffs are significant for both the employer and the employee.
Affordability and busy work schedules among top vacation concerns
When asked what they look forward to most when going on vacation, Canadians listed time to travel, rest or have a break from work responsibilities. However, in pursuit of rest and relaxation, the process of requesting time off can be a stressor itself. Millennials are most likely to feel nervous, stressed, worried, guilty or ashamed when asking for time off work (33%), compared to Gen X at 17 per cent and Boomers at 12 per cent. Millennials were also least likely to say they use all their vacation time, with only 60 per cent taking all the time they’ve earned.
When asked why they don’t use all their vacation time, Canadians cited several concerns, including being too busy at work, being unable afford to take a vacation, and not wanting to have more work waiting for them when they get back.
Creativity can help overcome these barriers. If finances are the obstacle, check out travel sites such as Skyscanner that check out all the other travel websites for the best deal fir flights – particularly at certain times of year such as black Friday. If workload is an issue, remember will make you more productive to get some time off- ask for help, delegate, ask colleagues how they manage their workload.
Eliminate vacation shaming
Canadians experience the most vacation shaming while they’re requesting time off from work, in the days leading up to their vacation, and during their last day in the office. This can lead to burnout and resentment in the workplace, with employees feeling hesitant to take their vacation time in future.
To avoid vacation shaming as an employee:
- Communicate well in advance. Request vacation as early as possible, and work with your colleagues and bosses to ensure work will be covered during your absence, which can help minimize feelings of guilt.
- Delegate, delegate, delegate. Don’t be afraid to ask colleagues to back you up while you’re gone. Leave written instructions so you aren’t bombarded with questions on deliverables and choose one person as your out of office contact to help manage requests.
- Protect your time. Set expectations with your out of office email alert and block vacation in your calendar to avoid being booked for calls or meetings while you’re trying to unplug.
- Choose wisely. Try to work around any absences your colleagues already have planned to minimize workflow disruption or objections to your plans, and consider key dates of importance for your industry when requesting time off.
While employees can take steps to ensure they take their vacation, the onus is on the company, leadership and managers to ensure they support their team
To avoid vacation shaming as an organization, leadership and/or management:
- Role model. One of the most effective strategies is to take your allotted vacation time and model the employee suggestions above.
- Setting expectations of vacationers. For example, a leader who sets the expectation they will not communicate during vacation allows others to feel free to disconnect during their vacation.
- Create a supportive culture. Employees are seeking more then ever to have a balance between work and home life. Having a culture that supports and encourages vacations is a way to provide that balance. Companies can ever use their vacation promotion strategies to attract and maintain talent.
The ability to disconnect from work has substantial benefits from the wellbeing of the employee to the company’s bottom line. Consider it a competitive advantage to take your vacation days- start strategizing now for the next year!