Feeling overworked but can't afford to take time off? You're not alone. A recent study conducted by online learning platform ELVTR showed that an alarming amount of Canadian workers are forced to pass on vacations this year.
The research, which surveyed 2,300 individuals, highlighted the impact the recession and economic uncertainties are having on vacation plans, with 20% of respondents reporting that they won't be able to take time off in 2023.
Among the participants, 37% revealed that they're taking less time off, while a staggering 20% aren't taking any vacations due to understaffing and company layoffs. The study also discovered that 68% of workers admitted to working during their vacations, with 37% attributing this to a lack of delegation options and 8% driven by fear of losing their jobs.
The invasion of work-related responsibilities into personal time has emerged as a significant concern. The study reveals that a fifth of respondents were asked to check their emails while on vacation, while 25% experienced a constant stream of work-related text messages.
Additionally, 28% reported feeling bothered by emails and 8% faced interruptions through social media or phone calls during their breaks.
This utter lack of work-life balance has taken a heavy toll on workers' mental health, with 73% of respondents admitting that they feel guilty working through vacations, while 41% feel ashamed if they don't. Switching off during downtime has also become a challenge for 46% of employees, with 57% of them admitting to experiencing anxiety if they don't check work emails while away.
The study of this imbalance even went as far as to analyze personal relationships, with 45% of respondents reporting that they've upset their partners or travel companions with work-related distractions.
Sadly, the issue has become a vicious cycle, with one in four workers also admitting to bothering their fellow team members during their vacations — 12% resorted to emails, 10% used text messages, and 4% utilized social media or phone calls.
In an emailed statement, Ben Gold, founder of Recommended Home Buyers, expressed concern about the lack of work-life balance and highlighted the following potential long-term implications on the economy:
- Lack of Innovation: "A workforce that is focused solely on job security is less likely to innovate and adapt to changing market conditions."
- Less Spending: "People who sacrifice personal time may not have the energy or resources to engage in leisure activities, leading to reduced consumer spending."
- Increased Employee Turnover: "Employees who feel undervalued and burnt out are more likely to leave their jobs, leading to higher turnover rates.”
Roman Peskin, co-founder and CEO of ELVTR, issued a call to action in response to the crisis in the hopes of transforming the way time off is approached.
"It's high time we hit the 'pause' button on this relentless race. We at ELVTR urge employers and employees alike to join forces in tackling this work-life balance crisis head-on and let's transform the way we approach time off. After all, a rested mind is a creative and effective one," Peskin said.