Millennials can't seem to stop workingNews added by Benefits Pro on June 18, 2014

Benefits Pro

Joined: September 07, 2011

By Dan Cook

Another psychological victory for the lords of productivity: more than four in 10 workers check in with work while on vacation, and one-quarter of employees feel guilty if they actually take all their vacation days.

So says an employee engagement study from Randstad, an HR services provider that surveyed 2,257 adults about their vacation habits.

The big takeaways:
  • 42 percent of employees feel obligated to check in with work while on vacation; and
  • 26 percent feel guilty using all of their allotted vacation time.
“Employees’ conflict about whether or not to disengage when given the opportunity becomes more pronounced in light of Randstad data that show 67 percent of workers report feeling more productive after returning from vacation.”

When the data was extracted by generation, the study reinforced previous research that shows Millennials are the most inclined to stay connected pretty much around the clock, around the calendar.

Some 52 percent of Millennials said they felt obligated to check email outside of work, far outpacing other generations, and another 40 percent said they would feel guilty if they took all the vacation days they were allowed to take. Baby Boomers were at the other end of the spectrum: 18 percent said they would feel guilty about taking all available vacation time.

“Gen Y was born into the era of technology and as a group is more comfortable than Baby Boomers or Gen X with being constantly connected in both their work and personal lives,” said Jim Link, chief HR officer, Randstad North America. “As Gen Y and incoming Gen Z employees populate the workforce, companies will need to create protocols that thoughtfully address work/life boundaries to meet both organizational goals and employee needs and tendencies.”

The study also showed that 45 percent of all respondents believe they should be responding to email outside of work hours, and even more — 47 percent — feel guilty if they take a sick day and don’t do any work.

Link is not a fan of such obsessive behavior.

“Given 24/7 accessibility to their teams, managers must be mindful how their actions set the tone about being 'on' outside of normal work time,” said Link. “Managers should clarify expectations regarding after-hours communication and encourage teams to develop daily routines that respect work and personal boundaries. Imbalance can easily lead to stressed and disgruntled employees, negative health and morale issues, and diminished worker productivity.”

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