Unplug Already – Korn Ferry Survey Finds Half of Professionals Check in With Work Multiple Times a Day While on Vacation

-- Nearly Two-Thirds Have Cut Short or Cancelled Vacations Due to Work Pressures --

-- More than Half Have Argued with Spouse About Working During Vacation --

Editor’s Note: Survey Responses at End of News Release

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- As the summer vacation season kicks into high gear, a new Korn Ferry (NYSE:KFY) survey shows that disconnecting from the office to enjoy time with friends and family is a tall order for most professionals.

Nearly half (45 percent) of those surveyed say they check in with the office multiple times a day while on vacation. More than a quarter (26 percent) say they check in at least once a day, and no one said they abstain from connecting to work during vacation.

Nearly all (95 percent) of respondents say they plan to take a vacation that’s at least a week long, but nearly two-thirds (65 percent) admit they’ve had to cut a vacation short due to work pressures.

When asked why they work while on vacation, the largest percentage said to ‘put out fires’ (45 percent), and nearly a fifth of respondents (19 percent) say they work while on holiday because they ‘enjoy it.’

In addition, more than half (54 percent) say they’ve argued with a spouse or significant other about being too connected to work during vacation.

“In today’s workplace, most employees don’t have the luxury of completely checking out while on vacation. Clearing the deck of work responsibilities is hard, but planning better for downtime and negotiating set plug-in times with family and friends when keeping in contact with the office is a must,” said Korn Ferry Senior Partner and Engagement Specialist Mark Royal. “Finding the balance can help professionals focus on the scenery instead of the screen.”

More than a third (35 percent) of respondents do not plan on using all of their vacation time, and nearly three quarters (70 percent) said they would prefer a higher salary to more vacation days.

“Vacation time is not just a nice to have, it’s a must to sustain workers’ health and well-being,” said Royal. “Our research finds that the majority of professionals are more stressed at work than they were five years ago, and they say that stress is having a negative impact on their personal relationships. Professionals who can turn off the demands of work – even for short periods of time – will be more engaged and more productive in the long run.”

About the survey

There were 1,070 responses to the online executive survey, which took place in May 2019. Please note that due to rounding responses may not equal 100 percent.

Survey Responses

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

Multiple times a day

45 percent

Once a day 26 percent
A few times per week 21 percent
Once a week 3 percent
Never 0 percent

Would you rather have a salary increase or more vacation days?

Salary Increase 70 percent
More vacation days 30 percent

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


54 percent

No 46 percent

If you work while on vacation, what’s your primary reason for doing so?

Putting out fires: I get pulled into critical issues

47 percent

Too much work to do/Increased workload upon return 29 percent
I enjoy it 19 percent
I worry people will make wrong decisions without my input 5 percent
I worry other people will get assignments I want 1 percent

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

One day

47 percent

No time

27 percent

One week 24 percent
Two weeks 2 percent
More than a month 0 percent

Do you plan to use all of your available vacation time in 2019?

Yes 65 percent
No 35 percent

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

Yes 65 percent
No 35 percent

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

Yes 95 percent
No 5 percent

About Korn Ferry

Korn Ferry is a global organizational consulting firm. We help clients synchronize strategy and talent to drive superior performance. We work with organizations to design their structures, roles, and responsibilities. We help them hire the right people to bring their strategy to life. And we advise them on how to reward, develop, and motivate their people.

Tracy Kurschner

Source: Korn Ferry