- Half of Canadians have been discouraged from using their vacation time by co-workers and bosses, with millennials feeling the biggest impact –
TORONTO, Nov. 20, 2019 /CNW/ - As a nation, Canadians value their time off work. But are they actually taking the vacation time they're entitled to? According to a new study commissioned by leading travel company Skyscanner, 96 per cent of Canadians say it's important for them to take time off work, but only 66 per cent take all of the time they're owed – which may be attributed to a rising workplace trend called "vacation shaming."
The study of 1,000 Canadians and 500 Americans, conducted by research firm Maru/Blue, showed that 50 per cent of Canadians have experienced vacation shaming, wherein co-workers or bosses use guilt or peer pressure to discourage employees from using their vacation time. The trend is most prevalent among millennials, with nearly two-thirds (62 per cent) saying they've encountered vacation shaming in the workplace.
When it comes to vacation shaming, not all provinces are created equal. Regionally, Quebeckers and British Columbians are least likely to have experienced vacation shaming, at 26 per cent and 41 per cent respectively. Trends differ south of the border, too, with only 57 per cent of Americans taking all their vacation time, and 58 per cent saying they've experienced vacation shaming, an increase of eight per cent over Canadians.
"Many of us assume that taking time off will negatively impact our career trajectory, but evidence suggests employees that take their vacation have increased productivity, creativity, and decreased stress and risk of burnout, making them more likely to get promotions and raises," said Dr. Lisa Bélanger, a behaviour change expert who specializes in helping employees maximize their mental and physical well-being. "Ultimately, the payoffs are significant for both the employer and the employee."
Affordability and busy work schedules among top vacation concerns
In pursuit of rest and relaxation, the process of requesting time off can be a stressor itself. Millennials across Canada are most likely to feel nervous, stressed, worried, guilty or ashamed when asking for time off work (33 per cent), compared to Gen X at 17 per cent and Boomers at 12 per cent. They were also least likely to say they use all their vacation time, with only 60 per cent taking all the time they've earned.
When asked why they don't use all their vacation time, Canadians cited several concerns, including being too busy at work (22 per cent), being unable afford to take a vacation (17 per cent), and not wanting to have more work waiting for them when they get back (8 per cent).
"Despite the proven benefits of taking time off work, the reality is that due to vacation shaming or perceived lack of affordability, not everyone feels empowered to take their vacation time," said Tahiana Rodrigues at Skyscanner. "Skyscanner makes it easier to turn 'vacation shaming' into 'vacation claiming' by offering an affordable range of flight, hotel and car rental options for every traveller."
Once vacation time is approved, Canadians can make the most of limited travel budgets by booking through Skyscanner.ca during retail holidays like Black Friday or Cyber Monday, which can offer significant savings. In 2018, Canadians booking flights on Skyscanner were able to save up to 25 per cent in fare prices to destinations like Sydney, Australia during Black Friday sales.
Tips to fight vacation shaming
Canadians experience the most vacation shaming while they're requesting time off from work (38 per cent), in the days leading up to their vacation (27 per cent), and during their last day in the office (22 per cent). This can lead to burnout and resentment in the workplace, with employees feeling hesitant to take their vacation time in future. To avoid vacation shaming, Dr. Bélanger suggests setting boundaries with the following tips:
- Communicate well in advance. Request vacation as early as possible, and work with your colleagues and bosses to ensure work will be covered during your absence, which can help minimize feelings of guilt.
- Delegate, delegate, delegate. Don't be afraid to ask colleagues to back you up while you're gone. Leave written instructions so you aren't bombarded with questions on deliverables and choose one person as your out of office contact to help manage requests.
- Protect your time. Set expectations with your out of office email alert and block vacation in your calendar to avoid being booked for calls or meetings while you're trying to unplug.
- Choose wisely. Try to work around any absences your colleagues already have planned to minimize workflow disruption or objections to your plans, and consider key dates of importance for your industry when requesting time off.
"While employees can take steps to ensure they take their vacation, the onus is on the company, leadership and managers to support their teams in taking their vacation time by modeling appropriate vacation behaviours, setting expectations of how vacationers should be treated, and creating a supportive culture," added Dr. Bélanger. "In fact, companies can use their vacation promotion strategies to attract and retain better talent."
The study, commissioned by online travel company Skyscanner and conducted by research firm Maru/Blue, surveyed 1,000 Canadians and 500 Americans who are eligible for paid vacation about their perceptions regarding time off work and travel. The study was conducted using an online questionnaire that was fielded from October 25 to 31, 2019. All respondents are members of the Maru Voice Canada and Maru Springboard America online panels.
Founded in 2003, Skyscanner is a leading travel company dedicated to putting travellers first by making booking trips as simple as possible. Skyscanner helps more than 100 million people in 52 countries and over 30 languages find the best travel options for flights, hotels and car hire every month. Skyscanner is available on desktop, mobile web and its highly rated app has 100 million downloads. Working with 1200 travel partners, Skyscanner's mission is to lead the global transformation to modern and sustainable travel.
After multiple high-profile investment rounds, including from Silicon-Valley based Sequoia Capital, Skyscanner was acquired by Ctrip Group in a deal valued at £1.4bn in 2016. For more information, visit: https://www.skyscanner.ca/about-us.
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