We like to think of the holiday season as a time for workers to take a step back, to cash in the vacation days they’ve been accruing all year long and to rest and recharge at the end of a long year.
Some new research suggests that’s not quite the case, at least not this year.
For instance, Monster.com recently conducted a survey that found 61% of workers saying the holidays negatively affect them—44% said they feel more stressed than usual during the holiday season, while 17% reported a decline in their overall well-being this time of year.
The same poll sees workers taking few days off during the holiday season, and 65% of those who do take days off said they’re still working while on PTO—dealing with time-sensitive issues or providing support to team members, for example.
A new survey from Eagle Hill Consulting finds that, even with the holiday season in full swing, government workers are also struggling to disconnect from work when they’re off the clock, with a fair number of public sector employees not taking vacation time at all.
The poll of 1,347 workers from more than 500 federal, state and local government employees found 26% of respondents saying they haven’t taken vacation during the past year. The highest percentage of workers saying they haven’t taken vacation in that span were Gen Z workers (46%) and lower income employees (39%).
What’s stopping government workers from taking time away? Close to half (44%) said the expense of a vacation was deterring them, with 40% saying the same about self-imposed pressure to stay on top of work, heavy workload (30%), a lack of co-workers able to cover for them (26%), and pressure from managers (19%).
The more encouraging news is that 60% of public sector employees report being able to “fully disconnect from work” when they do go on vacation. (Still, nearly 30% said they check work email and messages while on PTO.)
Given the infrequency with which many government workers are taking time away, it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that close to half of the public sector employees surveyed (47%) said they are experiencing job-related burnout.
A fried workforce is bound to affect an agency’s ability to deliver on its mission, said Melissa Jezior, Eagle Hill Consulting president and CEO, in a statement summarizing the survey findings.
“Taking unplugged time away is one remedy that can help alleviate stress and burnout while building a culture of employee wellness,” said Jezior. “Of course, the holidays are the busiest time of the year for many government agencies, particularly public health and safety workers. So taking time off just isn’t realistic for many government workers.”
That said, agency leaders should still encourage employees to rest and recover when they’re away from work, before and after the holidays, Jezior continued.
“Public service employees are known for their commitment to public service and self-imposed pressure to deliver for their communities,” she concluded. “That means it’s all the more important for government leaders to set a good example by taking time off to recharge and reassure their teams its OK to do the same.”
06 December 2023
HR News Article