Not only are businesspeople not taking all the
vacation they are due, but many also are not taking enough true
vacation. We know from our recent nationwide research that senior
executives and managers are not taking near the vacation time they are
However, what may be even worse is that some of the vacation time
that is taken is not really a vacation after all. While vacation
technically is for taking a break from work for rest and relaxation,
not all vacations end up that way.
Because of the demands of work, some managers find themselves
getting shorter and shorter “vacations” while others don’t truly detach
while on those vacations.
“I probably won’t be able to take more than four to five days at any one time,” said one survey respondent.
“I’ll only take two weeks straight, the other vacation is for long weekends or random days,” said another.
While better than no time at all, too short a period of time
doesn’t allow enough time for a total re-charge. Anyone who has been
through a tough few months in a row at the office knows that it takes
several days just to begin to unwind, never mind totally relax.
“As executives and founders of a small and growing business, it
is impossible for us to get away for even an entire week without being
in touch with employees and checking progress,” said another
respondent. “It’s beginning to weigh on us emotionally and physically.
When we tell someone we are taking four or five days without any cell
phones or e-mail, they are shocked since they say they can’t. What I
find shocking is that the world has so evolved that people can’t, won’t
or feel guilty about totally checking out of business for time off.”
Said another: “Most vacation here is taken in two- to three-day increments vs. a solid week or two-week period.”
To take at least something of a break, some look to pick up days here and there.
“I am trying to take some Fridays off to make a long weekend,
but usually still check email if I can and I do have the cell phone
with me,” said one manager. “Even on longer vacations, I almost always
have cell phone and communicate with the office.”
“Current executives have multiple needs for
their own down time,” said another. “Executives really need a full,
uninterrupted week as a minimum to recharge in today’s business
The amount of consecutive vacation time needs to be increased
for many. In addition, that vacation time should be more focused on
Because of technology ranging from cell phones to e-mail and
voice mail, many find it too easy to stay in touch with the office
rather than take a total break.
And with BlackBerrys, ubiquitous Internet, laptops and cell
phones, vacation time is not really completely disconnected from the
office any more. So the time off is less than it appears.
“I am 51 years old, and vacation is more important to me now
than ever,” said one respondent. “Without the opportunity for renewal,
personal reflection and just plain old-fashioned rest, employees become
less productive, less creative and more susceptible to injury and
illness. Vacation is actually an enhancement to productivity.”
In addition to taking the vacation that is due, executives and
managers should also attempt to make sure their vacation really is a