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24th May 2024

Millennials are taking ‘quiet holidays’ from work instead of asking for time off

Ryan Price

It’s a sneaky little annual leave workaround that many are availing of.

A new report has revealed that a new trend has emerged within the office-based workforce, whereby employees are taking time off without informing their employer.

The new movement has been given the term ‘quiet holidaying’ (or ‘quiet vacationing’ if you’re American), and a new The Harris Poll has revealed that 78% of Americans are doing it.

According to their Out of Office Culture Report, which was published this month, workers live in fear of being perceived as slackers and, instead of taking their annual leave, have availed of ways to get a break without notifying their boss.

According to Libby Rodney, Chief Strategy Officer for The Harris Poll, the practice has been adopted by mainly younger workers with nearly 40% of millennials admitting to taking time off without letting their manager know.

They manage to achieve this by scheduling messages during work hours (and even outside of hours to make it appear as though they’re working overtime), and moving their cursor around on their laptop frequently enough so that it appears they’re active online.

While workers in the European Union (including Britain for the moment) are guaranteed a minimum of 20 hours of annual leave, employees in the US tend to receive far fewer days off per annum, and therefore it explains why they tend to engage in this practice much more than those on this side of the Atlantic.

So, what’s the incentive? 76% of workers said: “I wish my workplace culture placed a stronger emphasis on the value of taking regular breaks and utilising paid time off.”

In other words, employees feel like their bosses will look at them differently for taking their rightful and contracted annual leave days, and therefore choose to be sneaky and coy in order to keep their employers happy and under the impression that their faithful employee wants to give their all (and then some) for the company.

The anxiety-ridden culture around the request is prevalent, as half (49%) get nervous when requesting time off from their employer.

Many Americans say the US should lean towards the European model as it recognises boundaries between work and personal time. That said, a report in the UK by PeopleHR found employees were “too busy” to take all their annual leave.

Another finding of the report was that more paid time off leads to more productive employees. 66% of employees surveyed agreed “if my workplace provided more
paid days off, I would be a more productive employee.”

48% of employees said they would sacrifice a higher salary for more days off.

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