HRE’s number of the day: employee vacations

Significantly more employees intend to use more vacation days this year. Here’s what that means for HR leaders.
By: | July 14, 2021

The vast majority of employees (79%) intend to use more vacation days this year than in years past, according to a survey by consulting firm Korn Ferry. Eighty-two percent also said they would check in with work less frequently than in the past. The survey of 620 professionals was conducted in June.

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What it means for HR leaders

More plans for vacations is generally positive news. That’s because employee hesitation over taking time off is one of employers’ and HR leaders’ biggest challenges. Employees, for the most part, usually don’t take all of their allotted paid time off, and when they do take time off, they regularly check in with work even when they’re on vacation. That’s been especially true over the last year: 44% of U.S. employees didn’t use any paid time off last summer, according to data from ValuePenguin.

Employees taking more time can help with soaring rates of burnout, which is a huge issue for organizations right now, experts say.

“Professionals are burned out and ready for an ‘awaycation,’ where they can travel and completely disconnect from work,” says Paul McDonald, senior executive director at Robert Half, a human resource consulting firm. “Now more than ever, it’s important for employees to take time off to recharge—and for employers to foster a vacation-friendly culture. Working nonstop is counterproductive and unsustainable.”

Still, HR and company leaders would be wise to prepare for pent-up demand for PTO this summer. Advance planning and tech solutions can help manage the logjam, industry experts say.

Register here for the HR Tech Conference to learn about tech tools to help manage PTO requests. 

Kathryn Mayer is HRE’s benefits editor and chair of the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference. She has covered benefits for the better part of a decade, and her stories have won multiple awards, including a Jesse H. Neal Award and honors from the American Society of Business Publication Editors and the National Federation of Press Women. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Denver. She can be reached at kmayer@lrp.com.

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