Virtual Offices, Vacations and Burnout

CHICAGO—Many Americans are giving up their vacations in the wake of a recession that left them without much savings on which to splurge. But it seems bosses are finding more time for getaways than employees. So says a new survey from CareerBuilder.

Specifically, the survey reveals that 81 percent of managers have taken or plan to take vacation this year. That compares to 65 percent of full-time employees. Where do virtual offices fit into this dilemma? We’ll get to that in a minute. First, let’s look at the trend lines.

The number of American workers who have already taken or plan to take a vacation is up from 61 percent in 2011. But the number of vacationers falls well below pre-financial crisis levels. In 2007, 80 percent of full-time workers went on vacation or expected to take a vacation that year.

The survey found that vacations are still financially out of reach for many Americans. One in five workers (19 percent) said they can't afford to go on vacation, which is down from 24 percent in 2011. An additional 12 percent of workers say they can afford vacations, but have no plans to take one, consistent with past years.

"Managers may be more likely to afford vacations, but they should still be encouraging their employees to use paid time off, even if they are staying close to home," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder.

"Workers who maximize vacation time are less likely to burn out and more likely to maintain productivity levels. Heavy workloads and financial constraints can make it difficult to get away from work, but even if you're not traveling far from home, a few days away can have a very positive impact on your health and happiness."

Haefner makes some good points. And that brings us to some of the benefits of virtual office space. Employees may not be able to afford traditional vacations, but allowing employees to work from a virtual office during some of the dog days of summer could be a refreshing break. Employees who work from virtual offices tend to be less stressed and more productive. And a virtual office would give employees more time to spend with their family during the summer months.


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