I’m about 12 hours into my work day as I write this. But I took a vacation this summer, which is more than many American workers can claim.
Unlike our European counterparts, we do not know how to take vacation. Last year 70 percent of U.S. workers did not use all of their vacation days, according to a study by Right Management. A Harris Interactive (News - Alert) study last year showed that workers left roughly 9.6 days of vacation time on the table on average.
This isn’t because they cashed it in or are saving it for a larger vacation later, either—for most, the time is just lost.
There are several reasons why workers are not taking their vacation days. First, there’s the workload.
“I don’t have time to take time off,” one worker told the New York Post earlier this week. “Who’s going to do my job if I take time off?” he is quoted as having said. “No one. Everyone else has more than they can handle, too.”
The economic meltdown in 2009 is still being felt as business has picked up but not necessarily the reduced workload.
Further, many workers have the fear that they will get laid off if they don’t work long hours. Slaving over the computer all day may not give me props since I write from home much of the time, but for many it is a way to prove to the boss that they are needed.
This behavior actually is counterproductive for their work and their employer, however.
“It’s hard to be effective if you don’t take time off,” according to Brian Moran, a performance coach and author.
This sentiment is echoed by many others, including Margaret-Ann Cole, a senior vice president at Right Management.
“Taking time off and not thinking about work makes you better at your work,” Cole told the New York Post.
One solution that companies are starting to employ to get their employees to take breaks and get away from work more is workforce management software. With the software, companies can monitor employee workload, schedule and performance. They can not only use such software to optimize their employee productivity—they also can use the software to ensure productivity stays high.
One solution that contact centers might want to consider is Monet Software’s cloud-based call center workforce optimization solution. The solution won TMC’s (News - Alert) Customer Magazine Product of the Year award in 2012.