Employees Continue to Struggle With Disconnecting From Work While on Vacation

In a recent survey from staffing firm Accountemps, 54% of workers said they typically check in with the office at least once or twice a week during their vacation, up from 41% just one year ago.

Meanwhile, a CareerBuilder survey finds three in 10 (31%) check work email while away, and nearly one-fifth (18%) check in with work.

According to Accountemps, those who do connect with the office do so fewer times during their break: 15% of workers touch base at least once or twice a day, compared to 21% in 2016. Forty-seven percent of total respondents said they don’t check in at all while on summer vacation. Sixty percent of workers 55 and older don’t connect with the office during their break, compared to 52% of respondents ages 35 to 54 and only 38% of workers 18 to 34.

Yet, they need a vacation. CareerBuilder found three in five workers (61%) say they are burned out in their current job, and 31% report high or extremely high levels of stress at work.

While stress and being burned out impact workers across the organization, the bottom ranks seem to be more burned out than others:

  • Senior management/vice president: 43%;
  • Director/manager/supervisor/team leader: 69%;
  • Professional/technical staff member: 58%; and
  • Entry level/administrative/clerical: 61%.

Their reasons for checking in, according to Accountemps, include gaining peace of mind that things are under control (54%), keeping projects moving along (53%), avoiding coming back to extra work (47%) and preventing colleagues from feeling undue stress (34%). More than one-third (36%) of respondents to the CareerBuilder survey said they’ve returned from vacation to find so much work, they wish they’d never left at all, and 18% said vacations cause them to be more stressed out about work. This could be the reason nearly one in five (17%) left vacation days on the table at the end of last year.

Accountemps finds professionals plan to take an average of 10 vacation days this summer—unchanged from last year’s survey. Thirty percent of those surveyed said they plan to take more vacation days this summer compared to last year. Forty-one percent of workers between the ages of 18 and 34 plan on taking more time off, compared to 25% of workers ages 35 to 54 and only 16% of respondents 55 and older. Twelve percent of respondents plan to take fewer days off than they did last summer. Only 10% of male workers plan to take fewer days off, compared to 14% of female workers.