84 Percent of Executives Have Canceled a Vacation Due to ‘Demands at Work’ According to Korn Ferry Survey

-Just Three Percent of Executives Completely Disconnect From Work; 67 Percent Check In at Least Once Per Day-

LOS ANGELES, June 13, 2014 ­— If you’ve ever cancelled a vacation, found yourself obsessively connected to work e-mail (while on a remote beach), or even bickered with your spouse about being too connected to the office (at a resort swimming pool) – you’re in good company.

Of the more than 250 executives surveyed by Korn Ferry (NYSE:KFY), a single source of leadership and talent consulting services, just three percent are able to completely disconnect from the office during vacation.  Plus, 84 percent have been forced to cancel a vacation at some point in their career due to demands at work.  Further, 67 percent feel the need to check in with work at least once per day.

“In today’s world, most executives simply are unable to go ‘off the grid’ on vacation.  We are living in a business environment that offers no time for time-outs, where communication is borderless and instantaneous and time zones are virtually irrelevant,” said Tierney Remick, President, Global Consumer Practice.  “Today, the expectations to deliver results, drive growth and lead global workforces are so pressing that they follow executives, whether they are in the middle of the ocean or 30,000 feet in the air.”

How soon we forget that vacation.  Eighty-seven percent of executives say they are back into their work within a day and 62 percent are refreshed and excited to get back to their job.  

Survey results were conducted from May 15 to June 9 2014.  Results are highlighted below.

Staying Connected on Vacation 

How often do you connect to work while on vacation?

Multiple times a day                                                 38%

Once a day                                                                 29%

A few times per week                                               23%

Once a week                                                               6%

Hourly                                                                           1%

Never                                                                            3%

67% connect at least 1 time per day

Have you ever had a disagreement with your spouse about being too connected to work on vacation?

Yes    61%

No      39%

If you work while on vacation, what is the primary reason for doing so?

Email avalanche control to minimize work when I return                               38%

Putting out Fires: I get pulled into critical issues                                              33%

I enjoy it                                                                                                                     20%

Stakes are too high: Can’t afford to delegate down/be out of touch              7%

Fear: My career progress could be slowed/job could be in jeopardy            2%

Choose the one statement that best reflects how vacation affects your overall work: 

Incredible time to reconnect with family/improve my perspective                 57%

Gives me space to think. I come back more productive                                 41%

It’s a waste of time and I could be working instead                                         0%

Leads to arguments/anxiety. I constantly connect with work                          2%

Vacationing While Looking for Another Job

Have you ever used vacation to explore other career options?

Yes      39%

No        61%

State of Mind Regarding Vacation

What statement best reflects your mindset when returning from vacation? 

I am refreshed and excited to get back to my job                                                         62%

I am excited to get back to my job – but more vacation would be OK                       27%

I am neither excited nor dismayed about going back to work – my job is ok          6%

I am sorry vacation has ended and I don’t really want to go back to my job            2%

I wish I never had to go back to my job – it is depressing to be there                      2%

Did a past vacation ever spur you to consider leaving your job and moving to that vacation spot?

Yes      44%

No       56%

After returning to work from vacation, how long does it typically take you to “get back into the swing of things”? 

No time                                   40%

One day                                   47%

One Week                               12%

Two Weeks                             1%

More than a month                 1%

Never, I got back and quit     1%

87% back into work within a day

Do you believe that taking vacation affects career growth?

It slows career growth             7%

It improves career growth       46%

It makes no difference            47%

Planning Vacations Versus Canceling Vacation

Do you plan to take a vacation(s) this year? 

Yes     86%

No      14%

Did you take vacation last year?

Yes    84%

No     16%

Have you cancelled/delayed personal vacation plans due to occupational demands/pressure to perform at work?  

Yes    84%

No     16%

About Korn Ferry

At Korn Ferry, we design, build, attract and ignite talent. Since our inception, clients have trusted us to help recruit world-class leadership. Today, we are a single source for leadership and talent consulting services to empower businesses and leaders to reach their goals. Our solutions range from executive recruitment and leadership development programs, to enterprise learning, succession planning and recruitment process outsourcing (RPO). Visit www.kornferry.com for more information on Korn Ferry, and www.kornferryinstitute.com for thought leadership, intellectual property and research.