Does remote work make it harder to take vacations?

Many people still working when on vacation, finds survey

Does remote work make it harder to take vacations?

Remote work is taking a toll on workers’ work-life balance, judging by the findings of a recent survey.

About three-quarters (74%) of workers say the ability to work virtually makes it easier to take a vacation from work, finds a Ceridian survey cited in a CTV News report.

That, however, does not reflect reality: not even half 47% of respondents say they avoid work entirely while on vacation, according to the report. Specifically, the numbers are 51% among workers in the U.K., 50% among those working in Canada and 41% among those in the U.S.

“Managers and HR leaders shouldn’t necessarily be mandating time off for employees, as dictating how employees spend their time can backfire, but they should communicate expectations clearly: taking a vacation is a good thing, and managers will contact them directly if something urgent arises that requires their attention,” read part of the Ceridian report, according to the CTV News article.

Overall, 39% of Canadians feel uneasy talking about burnout with their manager, according to a previous Robert Half Canada report.

Hindrances to vacation

Economic factors are the biggest hindrances preventing workers from vacationing, according to Ceridian’s survey of 623 workers in Canada, 658 workers in the U.K. and 1,339 workers in the U.S. between May 6 and 8, 2023.

Overall, 34% of respondents say travel has gotten too expensive as a result of inflation and 32% say they simply cannot afford time away from their jobs.

A poll by The Washington Post and Ipsos of 1,148 workers revealed that 80% would accept a job that pays higher and they report to work physically.

However, some workers say work itself is the biggest hurdle to taking time off from work, finds Ceridian. About one in five (17%) say they're too busy at work to take time off while 15% claim there would be nobody to cover their work while they’re away.

“It’s clear from our findings that the ability to work virtually helps give people the flexibility they need to take time away,” says the report. “But it’s not enough for people to be away from their workstations.”

It’s crucial for employers to modernize vacation policies and create space at work for employees to help them prioritize work-life balance, says Ceridian.

Employee vacation time benefits workers, employers and the economy, said Joe Emerson – who spent 30 years as a magazine and newspaper reporter, editor and copyeditor – in an article posted on the University of South Florida website.

He said: “Here’s the formula on calculating the benefits of taking a vacation: Well-rested and satisfied employee plus a company well-served by that employee equals a step toward creating or sustaining a strong U.S. economy.”

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