Working or Relaxing? Korn Ferry Survey Shows Execs Have a Hard Time Unplugging from the Office During Vacation

More than Half Say They’ve Argued with Spouse Over Working During Vacation

One-Third Say They Work During Vacation Because They “Enjoy It”

Eighty-One Percent Say They’ve Cut Short or Cancelled Vacation Due to Work Pressures

Nearly All (97 Percent) Say They Are Connected to Work on Vacation

LOS ANGELES, June 16, 2016 – As the summer vacation season kicks into high gear, a new global survey by Korn Ferry (NYSE: KFY), the preeminent global people and organizational advisory firm, shows that for many executives, working is the new relaxing.

Nearly three-quarters of respondents say that during vacation, they check in with the office at least once a day, with a third saying they connect multiple times a day. This apparently does not bode well for their relationships, as 54 percent say they have had disagreements with their spouses about working when they are supposed to be on holiday.

While 46 percent say they are connected to work because they get pulled into critical issues or need to put out fires, 35 percent say they work on holiday because “they enjoy it.”

“For most executives operating at today’s breakneck pace, balancing careers, family and personal time is a tightrope act. While the lines between beach time and business are increasingly blurred, it’s critical that professionals find a way to step away and follow their passions or enjoy time with family and friends,” said Mark Royal, Senior Principal, Korn Ferry Hay Group. “Organizations also benefit, as people who take time off are shown to be more productive, more engaged and less likely to make critical mistakes.”

While 88 percent of executives say they plan on taking a vacation that is at least one full week long, 81 percent say they have cut short, delayed or cancelled a vacation due to work pressures. When they are able to take a few days off – 97 percent of executives say they still connect to work.

In addition, 65 percent of executives say they do not plan on using all of their vacation time in the coming year.

About the Study

Korn Ferry conducted the global survey of 1,033 executives in June 2016. Following are the responses:

While on vacation, how often do you connect to work?

Multiple times a day    33 percent

Once a day    38 percent

A few times per week    19 percent

Once a week    6 percent

Hourly    1 percent

Never    3 percent

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

Yes    54 percent

No    46 percent

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

Too much work to do/Increased workload upon return    15 percent

Putting out Fires: I get pulled into critical issues    46 percent

I enjoy it    35 percent

I worry people will make wrong decisions without my input    3 percent

I’m afraid others will get assignments that I should get    1 percent

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

No time    31 percent

One day    52 percent

One week    15 percent

Two weeks    1 percent

More than a month    0 percent

Never, I got back and quit    1 percent

Do you plan to use all of your available vacation time in 2016?

Yes   35 percent

No   65 percent

Do you plan to take a vacation that is at least one week long this year?

Yes   88 percent

No   12 percent

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

Yes   81 percent

No   19 percent

About Korn Ferry

Korn Ferry is the preeminent global people and organizational advisory firm. We help leaders, organizations, and societies succeed by releasing the full power and potential of people. Our nearly 7,000 colleagues deliver services through our Executive Search, Hay Group and Futurestep divisions.