January 12 2007 - A recent survey found that workers below management grade are more likely to make full use of their holiday
entitlement compared to executive and middle-level employees, who tend to take long weekend vacations. While
employees value time away many feel obliged to work and stay in touch with their organizations on their days off.
The 2006 Workplace Vacation Survey drew on responses from 619 human resource (HR) professionals and 473 employees and was jointly conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and CareerJournal.com, The Wall Street Journal's executive career guide.
HR professionals suggested that employees in their organizations with up to two years tenure were more likely to use sick or personal days as vacation days compared with long-term employees (16+ years). Over two-thirds (68 per cent) indicated that executive-level employees with up to one year's tenure receive more than two weeks of paid vacation/time off per year compared with 50 per cent of middle management and 35 per cent of those below management level. Nearly half (42 per cent) said that new hires at non-management level were provided with two weeks annual paid vacation/time off.
Almost 60 per cent of HR professionals and 44 per cent of others surveyed agreed that employees were opting for long weekend vacations to avoid being out of the office for longer. Almost half of HR professionals (43 per cent) and 30 per cent of others agreed that employees often combine business trips with personal vacations. One-third of employees said that they usually take work on vacation and almost half of HR professionals said that employees feel obligated to stay connected to their organization while on vacation. Only 4 per cent of those surveyed said their organizations ask them to stay in touch while on vacation.
Developments in communication technology have made it easier for workers on vacation to stay in touch with their jobs. Over three-quarters of HR professionals (81 per cent) said their organizations provide a means to stay connected, such as cell phones, pagers, laptops and Blackberries or other handheld devices.
David Patton, editorial director, CareerJournal.com commented:
"Even though they may qualify for more than two weeks off a year, middle and upper-level employees may feel they need to put in more time at work in order to move up the corporate ladder. With the increased use of mobile communication devices and easy access to email, they can take the breaks they need while remaining in touch with the office."
Susan R. Meisinger, SPHR, president and CEO of SHRM added:
"US workers are among the most productive in the world, but no time away from work can lead to burnout, reduced productivity and higher turnover. Utilizing flexible scheduling and technology can be an effective means for organizations to help employees take a much needed rest."