Out of the Office

America’s latest malady? “Vacation guilt,” reports ComPsych, a Chicago-based human resources consultancy, which says the scores of layoffs seen in corporate America during the past two years has led employees to give up vacation and family time.

More than half (56 percent) of the 500 people who took part in ComPsych’s online poll, taken May 30-June 6, said they are postponing their vacation until they have greater employment security, while 44 percent plan to take a limited vacation this year. “People who have jobs are worried about keeping them, so they’re taking on more work,” explains Richard Chaifetz, chairman and CEO of ComPsych. “The typical summer vacation is, at this point, fairly unrealistic for them to contemplate.”

While vacation guilt leads to greater productivity, Chaifetz warns that the benefit to employers is short-term. “If companies don’t encourage time off, the pent-up stress will lead to diminishing commitment, and, once the economy improves, employee retention will become a big problem,” he says.