Vacation season is here, but money, anxiety and guilt are causing some workers to scrap their vacation plans. More than a third (35 percent) of workers say they haven't gone on or aren't planning to take a vacation in 2009; 71 percent of those indicate it's because they just can't afford it, according to CareerBuilder's annual vacation survey. The survey was conducted from Feb. 20 through March 11, among more than 4,400 workers. Additionally, close to one in five workers indicate that they are either afraid of losing their jobs if they go on vacation or feel guilty being away from the office.
Taking a vacation doesn't necessarily mean a clean break from the office. Half (50 percent) of employers say they expect employees to check in with the office while they are away, with 40 percent indicating it'll be necessary only if they are working on a big project or there is a major issue going on with the company. Close to three in 10 (28 percent) workers say they plan to contact the office at least once, regardless of what they are working on, while they are on vacation.
"While the current economy may be causing workers anxiety about taking a vacation this year, a break from work is essential for maintaining healthy productivity levels in the office," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. "Workers should plan ahead and make it a goal to use their vacation benefits; 15 percent reported that they didn't use all of their allotted time last year. Utilizing your time off is even more important now due to the added responsibilities and pressure that some workers may be faced with due to the current economic situation."
Plan for a true break
When planning a vacation, Haefner recommends the following tips to ensure your time off is a true break from the office.
Start preparing the office today: The minute you start thinking about booking a vacation, talk to your supervisor and see if the dates you want to be away are a good time for both of you.
Leave a plan behind: A few weeks before you leave, start recording important information, key contacts and any deadlines that will come up while you are gone and give it to a coworker who can fill in for you while you are gone.
Stick to a schedule: While it's best to leave the office at the office, if you must do work, set limits and boundaries for yourself and your co-workers. Don't let activities on vacation be interrupted by work.
Set a good example: If you are the boss, take a vacation and limit your contact with the office. Workers will feel much better getting away and enjoying themselves if they see the boss doing the same.