Managers Are the Biggest Losers When They Guilt Trip Employees for Taking Vacations

Published February 20th, 2020 - 12:56 GMT
Managers Are the Biggest Losers When They Guilt Trip Employees for Taking Vacations
Many managers don't realize that high-quality work conquers too much work. (Shutterstock)

If your supervisor makes you feel guilty whenever you apply for a vacation of a few days off, you need to forward this to them.

Managers tend to favor employees who take little time off and are always in the office, perceiving them to be more dedicated and productive. But what they might not realize is that a busy time sheet doesn't necessarily reflect the quality of the work.

It's common logic but research has also repeatedly concluded that workers who spend most of their time at work feel more burned out than their peers who take several holidays a year. Workers who skimp on their vacations are more prone to physical and mental health problems, especially as they begin to lose interest in their work.

Vacation Shaming 

The way managers react to vacation requests have been reported as a source of guilt by many employees who are often pressured to take fewer days off and are then shamed when they do take time off. And it's not only superiors who guilt trip them, but sometimes their colleagues do too.

A study conducted by Skyscanner in Canada and the US revealed that only 66% of employees in the country use their annual leaves. Among the 1000 people surveyed, 50% explained that they were subject to "vacation shaming" when they requested some time off work.

According to the same study, 33% of the millennials, 17% of the Gen Xers, and 12% of Baby Boomers found the process through which they have to apply for a vacation too complicated and troubling that they end up avoiding it.

Many workers abstain from taking vacations due to fear of coming back to piles of work that only means they'll have to work overtime once they're back. Not to mention, some fear being perceived as replaceable and worry that their managers translate their vacation time as a lack of commitment.

More interestingly, some workers avoid being away from the office so they don't miss out on anything, like career growth opportunities, promotions and work trips.

Physical and Mental Health Matter

Over the past few decades, numerous studies have pointed out that taking breaks has a great impact on physical and mental health. Vacations allow people to spend more time with their families and friends, gives them the opportunity to practice hobbies, travel to new places, and live new experiences.

Stress-related health issues such as headaches, backaches, heartaches, and sleep deprivation have all been associated with work-related problems, like toxic coworkers, competitive work environments, and working long hours for extended periods of time.

Researchers from the American Institute of Stress noted that “job stress costs U.S. industry more than $300 billion a year in absenteeism, turnover, diminished productivity, and medical, legal and insurance costs.”

Health experts urge people with such symptoms to be mindful of their physical and mental health and use their annual leaves to unwind and enjoy more life satisfaction.

Higher Performance 

Managers have been advised to encourage their subordinates to plan vacations that can help them recharge, improve their overall well-being, and come back to deliver stronger on-the-job performance.

In a 2011 Intuit study, 82% of small business owners noticed an increase in job performance after taking some time off. 

Managers should not only make it easier for their juniors to request leaves but are also recommended to encourage them to do so, in an effort to build healthier teams and work environments, as well as boost productivity. 


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