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All of us have read and heard about the benefits of taking a break from work. Taking time away from the hectic pace of work eases the pressures and stress that operate on us. It gives us breathing time and helps us relax and recharge our energy so that we can get back to work with renewed vigour. Taking time off increases productivity, enhances the quality of work and elevates the levels of creativity.
But while we all know this, we still find many people putting in extra hours, not taking leave, taking on extra workload etc. This tendency is more noticeable among millennials – the younger workforce. They are the most likely group to give up their hard-earned leave. They thus end up spending more time in office than they should and give a complex to the worthy souls who don’t do so. They do not avail of their leave and hence make it difficult for the older workers to do so either.
Feeling of guilt among the workers
Research among a cross section of workers of different ages shows that not only do millennials not take leave, they “shame” those who do. This creates a feeling of guilt in the workers who want to take leave and enjoy the relaxing time doing something they like. As a result people feel compelled to not take time off even if it means added pressure and tension at work. When questioned about the reasons for this what emerged was that millennials are concerned about taking leave because of the following reasons:
• They do not want to lose out to others when being considered for a raise or for promotion
• They think nobody else can do the job while they are away
• They do not want their bosses and colleagues to feel that they are replaceable
• They want to show their total commitment to the company and the job
• They feel guilty about taking time off
• They are worried and afraid of what their boss might think; in fact they believe that not taking leave impresses the boss
“Work martyr” complex among millennials
Surprisingly this “work martyr” complex exists more among millennials than among the older workers. And millennials are happy to be seen as such by their bosses. They claim that the company looks askance at those who avail of their earned leave and makes its disapproval apparent. Thus even though are aware of the benefits of taking off, they are hesitant to do so.
What is even worse than millennials forfeiting their leave is their propensity to refuse leave to their subordinates. Millennials in leadership positions feel that this happens not because they wish to be harsh but because the company pressurizes them to withhold leave from those reporting in to them. But when working people do not take their vacations it has a negative impact on their work performance in terms of productivity and quality.
A break is necessary – it is essential to enhance creativity, innovation and greater involvement and passion. If businesses do not recognize this, they stand to lose in the long run. A burnt-out workforce cannot bring success to an organization. And it is high time that both the organization and the workforce realizes this.