It is time for workers to unwind, sit back and relax on holiday as yet another busy working year draws to a close.
Australians love nothing more than taking a holiday, right?
It seems we don’t.
A new phenomenon known as holiday evasion is taking hold of many workplaces.
Holiday evasion involves workers deferring their vacation and stockpiling leave entitlements for other times – often indefinitely.
While most Australian workplaces traditionally have one or two die-hard workers who prefer to hoard their leave entitlements, more and more of us appear to be part of a growing movement that rejects our boss’ well-intentioned and often impassioned plea to exchange your office cubicles for a cruise, staycation or a spot or two of glamping.
According to a survey conducted by Expedia, the number of unused annual leave days for the average Aussie has in the past 10 years jumped from 3.5 to six.
While this new trend has bosses as nervous as a turkey on Christmas Eve due to the financial impact of accrued leave year-on-year the broader consequences of employees not taking regular holidays are well known.
We need regular rest, which means that holiday evasion can induce stress, anxiety, fatigue and burnout to create morale issues and prompt workplace productivity to tank.
Often, a worker avoids holidays for fear of returning to a mountain of work. That fear is often accompanied by a commonly held though flawed view by workers that nobody can do their job as well as them.
Others experience holiday guilt and feel dreadful about going on leave because they don’t want to let their team down. Plus they believe they owe their boss to be on deck 100 per cent of the time. There is also the fear of being seen as replaceable, a theme that has emerged by lingering job insecurity.
And let us not forget, too, that some bosses actually discourage workers to take leave by not taking holidays themselves, being difficult and lacking flexibility when it comes to approving leave requests. For some people the reason for vacation evasion can be far more severe and complex, not least because past holidays haven’t worked out as planned and left them marinating in misery.
And what about those holiday avoiders who are engaged in illegal activities in the workplace such as fraud or theft. While on the job, they are able to meticulously cover their tracks. They fear, though, that their crimes will be detected should they go on leave.
Many Australians, it seems, think a “no leave, no life” approach allows them to wear a badge of honour in the workplace.
But that badge comes at the expense of their overall health, well-being and even their relationships. If you can take some of that leave time you have been evading, your boss might just think all of their Christmases have come at once. And you will feel much better for having taken a holiday.
Professor Gary Martin is a workplace culture expert with the Australian Institute of Management.
Source: Thanks smh.com