NSC Business and Industry Division news NSC Labor Division news Research/studies Worker health and wellness Worker Health and Wellness Office Safety Tips

Many employees don’t unplug from work while on vacation: survey

Photo: Suwaree Tangbovornpichet/iStockphoto

Provo, UT — Nearly half of U.S. employees say they work while on vacation, according to the results of a recent survey.

Researchers from software company Qualtrics surveyed more than 1,000 adult full-time workers. They found that 49% work for at least an hour a day while on vacation, and 24% of respondents reported working at least three hours.

Results also showed that 27% of respondents used all of their allotted vacation time in the past year, while 26% had a week or more of unused vacation time at the end of last year. The top three reasons cited for not using all of their vacation time: fear of falling behind at work, fear of letting down their team and pressure from co-workers.

Nearly 1 out of 3 of the workers (31%) feel they’re expected to answer phone calls or texts while on vacation, 27% are expected to respond to emails, and 20% are expected to be online. Perhaps not surprisingly, 27% of the respondents said they don’t feel refreshed after their vacations.


The respondents suggested that organizations can help by making sure employees don’t have to do any work when they’re off the clock, ensuring they’re not contacted when off duty and giving employees greater freedom to use vacation time when they want instead of working around co-workers’ schedules.

“Two years into the pandemic, employees and organizations have experienced an immense amount of stress while continuously adjusting to work as it evolves,” Benjamin Granger, head of employee experience advisory services at Qualtrics, said in a press release. “If companies are serious about the well-being of their people, they must evaluate existing norms around time off and encourage employees to completely disconnect during their allotted vacation days, without guilt. This is not only healthy for people, but essential for ensuring long-term productivity and retention.”

Post a comment to this article

Safety+Health welcomes comments that promote respectful dialogue. Please stay on topic. Comments that contain personal attacks, profanity or abusive language – or those aggressively promoting products or services – will be removed. We reserve the right to determine which comments violate our comment policy. (Anonymous comments are welcome; merely skip the “name” field in the comment box. An email address is required but will not be included with your comment.)