In a recent study, TravelOnline.com surveyed 10,000 Australian people about their holiday habits. By looking at the connections between work and travel, our survey found that 66.5% of Aussies fail to use all of their annual leave each year. Of the full 4 weeks/year that Aussies are entitled to, 20% of people fail to use 2 weeks of holidays and 6% fail to take just 1 weeks’ worth of holidays per year. While there are many factors that influence peoples holiday choices, we have outlined the top reasons why Aussies fail to use their annual leave.
The number one reason why people put off taking holidays is because of guilt. Our survey revealed that 65.8% of people experience guilt when requesting time off work for holidays. Workplace guilt comes in many forms and can make people question whether they really deserve a holiday. For example, some people believe that taking holidays will make them appear less dedicated to their job. Others fear they will be seen as replaceable for taking holidays. However, of the 65% that experience workplace guilt, 16% revealed that the guilt is irrational and “probably just in their head”. We all know that not taking enough holidays is detrimental to our health, so how can we minimize this internal guilt?
It all starts with reminding yourself that you can and should take time off. So, when the guilt comes creeping in, try to reframe those thoughts to emphasise that taking a holiday is healthy and you’ll return to work feeling energized, refreshed and more creative. Holidays are part of your contract and yearly salary, so if you don’t take this time off, you’re really just shortchanging yourself. Talking to your manager or HR department could also help voice your concerns and minimize the effects of holiday guilt.
Another common reason why people fail to use all of their annual leave is the fear of returning to a mountain of work. Our survey found that 4% of people don’t take holidays because “their work needs them more than anyone else”. Some also worry that their workplace will crumble without them and no one else will be able to complete their tasks. While many of these concerns are valid, there are ways to reduce the fears and allow yourself to trust others.
For instance, before jetting off on your holiday try to do as much as you can to reduce the workload of others. While you may not be able to complete absolutely every task, finishing the most important tasks will help minimize the guilt (and make your co-workers extra happy). You can also provide detailed breakdowns of any remaining work that needs to be completed in your absence. If you really struggle to not be in control, you can always check in via email while on holidays.
It’s long been thought that going on holidays is a great way to switch off, unplug and be free from the constant stream of emails and technology. However, according to our recent study, only 1 in 5 people holiday to unplug from technology. Our survey also found that 9% of people have not taken a holiday in over two years. With the constant access to screens and the internet in our everyday life, Aussies find it difficult to disconnect and take a break. For those that do take time off, many find themselves constantly checking emails and thinking about work.
If you feel anxious about not having access to your emails while on holiday, make use of the “out of office” response email. That way, you won’t feel the pressure to respond immediately and any emergencies can be directed to your boss. If you absolutely cannot switch off, allocate a specific time each day where you respond to emails for 15 minutes and then put your phone away for the rest of the day
If the reason you’re failing to use all of your annual leave is because your saving for the holiday of a lifetime, then we totally understand. Holidays take a lot of careful research and planning and sometimes a few weeks away just isn’t long enough! Stockpiling your annual leave also allows you to take an extended break and see more of the world without being confined to a tight schedule. Travelling at a slower pace will then allow you to return to work feeling much more relaxed and enthusiastic.