Based on our past research, we’ve found that
businesspeople are not taking the amount of vacation they are due. We
wanted to find out why.
It turns out that the overwhelming majority feel they will not take
vacation because of overall work demands, workload and pressing
projects. It also has little to do with seeking compensation in place
of vacation; only three percent say they prefer compensation to
vacation, based on our nationwide survey of senior executives and
The reality is that the day-to-day demands of the workplace keep many chained to the office.
“If I took all the days to which I was entitled, there would be
no way to accomplish my goals for this position,” said one survey
respondent. “I don’t need the time off that badly.”
Part of the reason is that the workload does not go away when the person does.
“I’d never catch up if I took all six weeks of my vacation,” said another respondent.
A small minority of executives and managers do not take vacations because of personal fear, or being left out.
Said one respondent: “Unfortunately, the current economic
environment dictates that staff is smaller, budgets tighter, deadlines
closer. It all adds up to more stress for the manager. That’s how
corporate America operates. You’re either aggressively moving forward,
or on vacation and someone else is moving in on your place.”
Said another: “There are two reasons people do not take the
vacation they are entitled to. First, they do not schedule it early in
the year, and second, they are under the impression (often false) that
the company can’t do without them.”
Family issues also tend to drive some who otherwise might be spending their vacation time at work.
“Since the birth of my son two years ago, I make sure to take all of my vacation time to be with my family,” said one manager.
“I believe one of the reasons people don’t
take vacation is that they don’t have the right perspective on
work/life balance, and don’t find out until later years when their
children are grown up what they missed,” said another.
On the other side of the coin, some businesspeople like their jobs so much they would rather be at work.
“If you really enjoy your job, it’s not a matter of what went
wrong, but rather what went right,” said one survey respondent.
“Sometimes, with the excitement of work, vacation simply doesn’t come
to mind. We have to actively encourage some of our employees to take
“I love my job,” said one respondent. “Although it is demanding, I would rather be at work. Weird, isn’t it?”
Said another: “I love what I do. Since working doesn’t seem like
work, why do I need a vacation except, of course, to spend quality time
While the high workload remains constant, the reality is that
revitalized employees are more productive, more fun and healthier,
which can make that workload less daunting.