How Important is Taking Time Off, Really, for Your Employees?

With summer fast approaching, most people are buckling down and becoming increasingly focused……on their vacation plans!  But how important is taking time off from work, really, for your employees?  Do they feel they need it? Do most people even take all of their vacation days, and if so, which factors compel people to take days off?

In a recent survey conducted by OneWire, we asked our community of finance professionals to share their views on the importance of taking vacation as it pertains to their performance at work.  While some answers seem par for the course, others may come as a surprise.  When asked how many vacation days they took in their current or most recent jobs, 52 percent of respondents said they used only some of their vacation days; 31 percent claimed to use all of them, while 16 percent never took a single day.

Those who didn’t take all of their vacation days indicated a number of reasons for this decision, including 34 percent who expressed concern about falling too far behind on work.  18 percent did not take vacation because it’s too expensive, while 11 percent claimed to prefer to work rather than take a vacation!  Other reasons ranged from company culture, to limited family vacation opportunities, to adjusting to a new job.

Still, 83 percent of respondents took at least some vacation days at their current or most recent employers, with 43 percent claiming time off made them feel rejuvenated and ready to dive back into work, and another 43 percent conceding that it made them feel a little less stressed, albeit temporarily.  Meanwhile 14 percent of respondents believe that vacation time does not reduce stress and can sometimes add to it.

While most professionals seem to think taking time off has a positive effect on their stress levels and overall work productivity, not everyone feels it is a necessity.  When considering a new job, only 44 percent of professionals believe vacation allowances are very important, versus 50 percent who believe vacation policies are only somewhat important—not a deal breaker.  Six percent of respondents said it was not a factor at all when seeking a new job.

For many professionals, other factors seem to outweigh vacation allowance—in fact 48 percent wish their company let them exchange unused vacation days for a bonus.  Still, 33 percent wish their company gave them more vacation days per year, and 18 percent wish companies required their employees to use all of their vacation days.

And which motives drive employees to take time off? Over 34 percent of respondents claimed they took their vacation days based primarily on the time of year, closely followed by 33 percent who said they took time off based on when it worked for friends and family.  Another 18 percent answered that their vacation schedule was dependent on how busy it was at the office, and 12 percent claimed they took vacation just before they reached their breaking point at work.  Only three percent planned their time off around vacation deals.

Based on these survey results, it’s clear that most finance professionals believe sufficient time off makes them better, more productive employees; however vacation allowances are typically not a deal breaker.  Most employees will take a vacation if it makes sense based on timing for friends and family, but they would rather work harder and get paid more.   Of course if your employees do go on vacation, rest assured that most will not forget about you—nearly 70 percent of professionals are connected to work at least by phone even while they are on vacation!  So are you planning your getaway yet?