The boss has a tremendous amount of influence over employee vacation behavior. And this influence has the capacity to dramatically change America’s vacation culture—for better or for worse. Many managers are under-communicating with their employees and sending formidable non-verbal signals.
One in three managers (32%) never talk about the importance of taking paid time off with their direct reports. Another 11 percent only discuss it once a year. Non-existent or limited communication is reflected in the 46 percent of employees who claim they get no encouragement to take time off from their companies or managers.
Managers feel that it is harder to take time off. Where 37 percent of employees say the fear of returning to a mountain of work is keeping them at the office, 47 percent of managers feel that way. They are also more vulnerable to the concern that no one else can do the work while they are away, with 37 percent of managers reporting this issue, compared to 30 percent of overall respondents.
Managers experience some of the most pressure, reflected in their connectivity to the workplace, while on vacation. They are dramatically more likely to say they put pressure on themselves to check in with work while taking time off —45 percent of managers report feeling this way, compared to just 24 percent of non-managers. Though lighter than the internal pressure they feel, managers are also more likely to feel that their boss expects them to check in while taking time off (25% of managers, compared to 14% of non-managers).