Vacation Just not Worth It?

May 22, 2009 ( - A new Randstad Work Watch survey of full-time employed adults reveals a, perhaps surprising, cause of employee stress - taking time off for a vacation.

When asked what they found difficult about taking time off from work for vacation, 77% of those who find something difficult about taking vacations stated it was the first day back in the office after vacation, according to a Randstad press release. An even higher number (84% of each) of Generation X (ages 35-44) and Mature (ages 55+) employees agreed with this sentiment.

The last day in the office before vacation ranked as the second most difficult thing, selected by 44% of those who find something difficult about taking vacations. Generation Y employees (ages 18-34), more so than any other group, find it hard to give up control of their responsibilities (35% of Gen Y, 30% overall).

The Randstad survey also found that 43% of workers find preparing their boss and/or coworkers for their absence to be stressful; this jumps to 55% for Generation Y employees. On the other hand, 64% of Boomers (ages 45-54) and 74% of Matures said they do not find it stressful to prepare a boss and/or co-workers for their time out of the office.

Respondents overall seemed to prefer face-to-face meetings and providing a contact number (55%) over sending an email updating the status of projects (43%) to prepare others for their office absence.

Other survey findings, according to the press release, include:

  • 53% of those surveyed say they have made vacation plans during work hours; this jumps to 61% for Generation Y employees;
  • Women (59%) are more likely than men (49%) to make vacation plans at work;
  • 14% of Generation Y employees said that finding out their absence was not missed was a difficult part of taking time off for vacation;
  • 70% of employees surveyed stated they are out of “work mode” as soon as they leave the office for vacation; and
  • 22% of Generation X respondents say they are never fully in “vacation mode.”

The survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Randstad from May 11 to May 13, 2009, among 2,065 adults ages 18 and older.