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Workers won’t take time off? Lead by example, consultancy says

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As the holiday season approaches, 38% of U.S. workers responding to a survey said they haven’t taken time off in the last 12 months, according to a Nov. 16 report from Eagle Hill Consulting.

The percentages climb even higher among low-income employees (59%), Gen Z workers (46%) and those without a college degree (46%).

“It’s not just employees who benefit from taking time away from work. Employers also benefit,” Melissa Jezior, president and CEO of Eagle Hill Consulting, said in a statement.

“When employees have space away from their job, they often return more energized and focused,” she said. “Ultimately, that benefits their employer and customers.”

In the survey of more than 1,300 U.S. workers, 46% said the expense of taking time off stops them from taking a fully unplugged vacation. Workers also pointed to self-imposed pressure to stay on top of work (30%), a heavy workload (27%), a lack of colleagues available to cover their workload (26%) and a lack of paid time off (25%).

Even when they take time off, many workers don’t totally unplug during that time, according to the report. About 56% said they fully disconnect while on vacation, but 25% said they check work email and messages.

In addition, 45% of workers reported burnout at work, according to the survey; the numbers were even higher among women and younger workers between ages 18-34.

“The holidays can be stressful for employees, and we know that nearly half the workforce already is experiencing burnout,” Jezior said. “A gift leaders can give is to encourage time off and set the example by taking time away themselves to fully unplug.”

A majority of workers in a separate survey from Monster reported being negatively affected during the holidays. Nearly half also said they feel more stressed than usual at this time of the year and experience a decline in well-being.

In fact, few workers are thriving in their jobs right now, according to a recent Indeed survey. Although nearly all respondents said they believe it’s possible to be happy at work most of the time and feel a clear sense of purpose, just under a third reported a sense of well-being — or energy, belonging and trust — at their company.

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