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Survey shows employees aren't disconnecting from work on vacation

New survey shows that employees often take work with them on vacation (Pexels/Armin Rimoldi)
New survey shows that employees often take work with them on vacation (Pexels/Armin Rimoldi)

Although remote work has cleared the way for workplace flexibility, allowing employees to work in various locations (and climates), a new study suggests it’s taking a serious toll on work-life balance.

According to a survey by Ceridan, a capital management technology company, 74 per cent of their survey participants say the ability to work virtually makes it easier to take a vacation from work.

The problem, however, is that the ability to work remotely means work is more likely to follow employees wherever they go.

The online survey, conducted by The Harris Poll, found that less than half of respondents (47 per cent) — in Canada, U.S. and U.K. — say they avoid work entirely while on vacation.

That number is lower for U.S. employees, with data showing that only 41 per cent of American respondents leave their work at home while off duty. Half of Canadian respondents also have trouble disconnecting entirely, and 51 per cent of survey participants from the U.K. face the same problem.

According Ceridan’s report, “Managers and HR leaders shouldn’t necessarily be mandating time off for employees, as dictating how employees spend their time can backfire, but they should communicate expectations clearly: taking a vacation is a good thing, and managers will contact them directly if something urgent arises that requires their attention.”

But another complication on the path to vacation time comes down to affordability.

According to the survey, out of respondents who want or plan to take a vacation this summer, 70 per cent say economic factors make it difficult to pay the costs.

The data found that 34 per cent of respondents say travel has gotten too expensive as a result of inflation, with 32 per cent saying they simply cannot afford time away from their jobs.

Adding to these complications, 17 per cent say their job is too busy to take time off, and 15 per cent claim there would be nobody to cover their work while they’re away.

As the report says, “It’s clear from our findings that the ability to work virtually helps give people the flexibility they need to take time away. But it’s not enough for people to be away from their workstations.”

The report added that modernizing vacation policies and creating space for employees is a crucial step towards prioritizing work-life balance.

Survey methodology:

This survey was conducted between May 6-8, 2023, among employed adults ages 18+ in the United States (n=1339), United Kingdom (n=658) and Canada (n=623).



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