Vacation Vexation

More than Half of Workers Unsatisfied With Time-Off Policy; 38 Per Cent Take Fewer Vacation Days to Avoid Returning to More Work

Toronto, ON – Despite bluer skies and warmer weather, some workers are feeling a little grey when it comes to their vacation time away from work. According to a new survey by staffing firm Accountemps, more than half of Canadian professionals (52 per cent) feel they don’t have enough vacation time.

Some reasons professionals aren’t reaping the full benefits of time off:

  • 36% said they were worried about their colleagues absorbing their workload.
  • 38% said they were concerned about the amount of work that would await them when they returned.
  • 36% of workers admitted to checking in with the office at least once or twice a week while on vacation.

Some sunnier survey results show professionals plan to take an average of 11 vacation days this summer, and 30 per cent plan to take more vacation days this summer than last year.

Workers Were Asked, “Which best describes how you feel about the amount of time you get off of work?”


52% It’s not enough: I could use more time to recharge.
43% It’s just the right amount: I get enough time off every year to recharge.
4% It’s too much: I can’t possibly take all the vacation time I have accrued!

Source: Accountemps survey of more than 400 workers ages 18+ in Canada.

© 2016 Accountemps. A Robert Half Company.

“The ability for professionals to completely disconnect from work, even while on vacation, is a growing challenge as a result of the accessibility offered by technology,” said Dianne Hunnam-Jones, Canadian president of Accountemps. “Workers need to recognize that taking the time to unplug is essential for their own wellbeing, allowing them the chance to return refreshed and better motivated.”

Hunnam-Jones added, managers should make their own vacation time a priority in an effort to encourage their teams to do the same. “Empower your employees to avoid burnout by cultivating work-life balance through your own ability to disconnect and recharge.”

Additional findings from the Accountemps survey:

  • 41 per cent of workers said their managers encourage them at least somewhat to take vacations; 52 per cent said their managers neither encourage nor discourage them from taking time off.
  • 58 per cent of women feel they don’t have enough vacation time compared to 47 per cent of men who feel the same.
  • 43 per cent of workers ages 18 to 34 plan to take more vacation this summer compared to 21 per cent of professionals ages 35 to 54 and 24 per cent ages 55 and older.
  • 42 per cent of men and 30 per cent of women check in with their office while on vacation.
  • 40 per cent of workers ages 55 and older check in with the office at least once or twice a week while on their summer vacation compared to 39 per cent ages 35 to 54, and 30 per cent ages 18 to 34.

Accountemps offers five tips for maximizing time away from the office:

  1. Cultivate a vacation-taking culture. Managers should create an atmosphere where employees feel motivated and encouraged to find work-life balance and recharge. 
  2. Plan ahead. Let your manager and colleagues know about your vacation plans well in advance. If necessary, your supervisor can bring in temporary professionals or arrange for others to cover during your absence. Block off time on your first day back to meet with your manager about critical updates and catch up on calls and emails.
  3. Assign delegates. Clarify to your manager, colleagues and other contacts who will take the lead on key projects while you are away. These back-ups can keep work progressing in your absence. Managers who delegate during vacations can also evaluate whether the second-in-command might be ready to assume more responsibility in the future.
  4. Disconnect from the office. Try to unplug completely while away to get the greatest benefit from your vacation. Managers can help by setting a good example themselves while out of the office. If checking in is necessary, establish one short window each day when you’ll be reachable, and stick to it.
  5. Ease your mind. Put your work worries aside while on your break. You will return to your job feeling more energized and ready to tackle tough projects. And don’t feel guilty about taking time off. Think of your vacation time as part of your compensation package – you’ve earned it.

About the Research
The survey was conducted by an independent research firm. It includes responses from more than 400 workers, age 18 and over in Canada. 

About Accountemps
Accountemps, a Robert Half company, is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. The staffing firm has more than 325 offices worldwide. More resources, including online job search services and the Accountemps blog, can be found at Follow us at and @RobertHalf_CAN on Twitter for additional workplace news and hiring trends.

For further information contact: Naz Araghian, (416) 865-2140, [email protected]