'What I didn't do on my summer vacation'

When it comes to vacations, the biggest regret employees have is not taking enough time off: survey

Vacations never quite seem long enough, and data from a new survey suggests the number one regret employees have about their vacations is that they didn’t tack on a couple of extra days.

About four in 10 Canadian workers (43 per cent) said the biggest mistake they made with their last vacation was taking insufficient time off, according to a study by OfficeTeam, a staffing services firm.

Respondents were asked: “Which one of the following was the biggest mistake you made when you took your last vacation from work?”

Their responses:

•Didn’t take enough time off: 43 per cent

•Couldn’t relax or get your mind off work: 17 per cent

•Checked in with the office too much: eight per cent

•Didn’t prepare or organize your work well prior to leaving: seven per cent

•Something else or none of the above: 23 per cent

•Don’t know or didn’t answer: two per cent

“Employees fearful of falling behind on projects or not seeming like team players often put off vacations or limit breaks to long weekends,” said Diane Domeyer, executive director of OfficeTeam. “Lean staffing levels in recent years have left many professionals with increased pressure at work, but this makes the need to recharge more vital than ever.”

Domeyer offered staff the following tips for getting the most benefit from vacation time:

Use history as your guide. Consider your last vacation, including what you did, how much time you took and whether or not you felt reinvigorated on your return. This experience should serve as a basis for planning your next break.

Resist the urge to check in. Change your voice mail and e-mail to let colleagues know you’re away. Don’t contact the office unless it is necessary. The more connected to work you are, the less time you have to unwind.

Avoid scheduling too many meetings the day you return. You’ll need time to address immediate issues, catch up on e-mail and get updates from coworkers on the status of projects.

Seize the day. Don’t wait until you’re in dire need of a vacation to take one. Regular breaks can keep you motivated all year long.

The survey was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 571 men and women, all 18 years of age or older and employed.

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