Increasing workloads and threats of a recession have Americans feeling stressed and in desperate need of some time off. However, results from Yahoo! HotJobs’ latest survey indicate that rest and relaxation are the first workplace casualties of rough economic times this summer. In fact, 51 percent of respondents to Yahoo! HotJobs’ second annual summer vacation survey report that they are planning to forgo their vacation this year and save money instead.
“A perfect storm of economic factors is developing,” says Tom Musbach, senior managing editor, Yahoo! HotJobs. “The economic downturn is leading to layoffs and stretched resources, which in turn leads to increased workloads and pressure to improve performance. Employees, now more than ever, need a break from the pressure, but are instead choosing to forgo vacation in order to meet growing demands and protect dwindling wallets. Eventually something will have to give.”
When asked how the economy is impacting their workplace, 35 percent of respondents say they feel constant pressure to improve performance, despite 44 percent of employees reporting they have a heavier workload than last year. Economic stress has even led 38 percent of respondents to look for a new job and 35 percent to update their resume.
“Last year’s summer vacation survey revealed that 45 percent of respondents left unused vacation days on the table,” says Musbach. “As the economic downturn continues, pressures rise, and the year progresses, it will be interesting to monitor vacation patterns to see if 51 percent of employees forgo vacation as indicated, or if that number continues to increase.”
Specifically, 44 percent of respondents say they are less focused when they feel stressed and 36 percent say they are less productive.
Unfortunately, employees who do use their vacation days aren’t necessarily spending their break enjoying personal time or interacting with friends and family. Many respondents (41 percent) say they take time off for a “mental health” day and 48 percent admit to using their time off to run personal errands.
It is vital for employees to know how to reduce workplace stress to keep their productivity and job performance high during these rough economic times. While a complete vacation from all work-related activities is the best pre scri ption for easing stress, taking time off or traveling far away is not always possible or affordable.