American Workers Struggle To Enjoy Time Out Of The Office

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Posted by Heidi Schwartz

working-on-the-beachOne-quarter of all American workers are unable to take all of their paid time off during the year, according to a survey by Adecco Staffing US. The survey found that 37% of those who take vacation have had to work or stay connected during that time – 89% have checked e-mail, while 70% have made work-related calls and 25% have actually shown up for in-person meetings during vacation. Even more frustrating is the 22% that have had to cut a vacation short because of work-related duties.

Perhaps not so surprising, those who have given up vacation time because of work related duties tend to judge their colleagues’ work habits more than others. According to the survey, 37% of those who have worked during vacation said they judge their colleagues for coming in late or for leaving early, compared to only 21% of those who have not had to give up personal time for work or connect while out of the office.

“We live in such a fast-paced, technology driven world that it can be very difficult to completely unplug, even when we’re out of the office on personal time,” said Sherry Dixon, a senior vice president with  Adecco. “The pressures and responsibilities of the job tend to follow us wherever we go, but it’s important to have balance so that you can enjoy the time you have. One way to do this is by establishing boundaries at work and appropriately planning staffing needs when one is going to be out of the office.”

Although working Americans say they’re not able to disconnect fully when they’re out of the office, it seems they are finding other ways to claim back their time. In fact, two in 10 (22%) of working Americans admit to planning to either come to work late or leave early when they know their boss is going to be out of office.

Other findings include:

Working Americans stay focused on the basics – making more money and having a greater work/life balance. According to the survey, 53% of American workers said they hope they get a raise this year, followed by 45% who would like a better balance between work and personal life. Other goals include getting promoted (26%), getting a new job (23%), networking more effectively (22%), and improving their relationship with their boss (15%).

Millennials have ambitious career plans for the year ahead when compared to other generations. According to the survey, Millennial workers are much more likely to want a promotion (43% compared to 30% of Gen X and 17% of Boomers) and raise than other generations (67% compared to 58% of Gen X and 44% of Boomers respectively).

American workers feel a lack of senior roles in their current company is the biggest obstacle for career growth. According to the survey, 27% of American workers do not believe there is upward mobility within their company. Other obstacles to achieving their career goals include a lack of motivation/being disengaged with their current job (15%) followed by a lack of support from their manager (13%), lack of company sponsored training (13%), and limited personal qualifications (9%).

Colleagues who complain about work don’t get any sympathy from their co-workers. Working Americans are most commonly (37%) annoyed by colleagues who complain about their work. This topped other habits such as leaving common spaces messy (30%), talking excessively loud (26%), and coming into work sick (21%).

“With so many different personalities and generations melded together in the workplace, it’s no surprise that American workers may get annoyed with their co-workers from time to time,” said Dixon. “But it’s important not to judge those we work with and instead find ways to work together and support the needs of the job. This will create a healthier working environment, as well as provide a greater level of support across the board.”

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