PTO Trends and Workspace Planning for the 2017 Summer Vacation Season
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 91% of full-time workers in the private sector have access to paid vacations—accounting for almost 7% of total compensation. This rate has remained stable over the last two decades.
However, the classic image of an employee taking the same full-week family vacation once per year is increasingly irrelevant in a world of mobile workers, office hoteling and flexible time and attendance policies. As more companies implement alternative vacation and PTO policies, it is important to consider the impact of these trends on workspace utilization and talent management.
Formal Vacations Are Declining While Flexible, Remote Working Is Increasing
An analysis of BLS data conducted by Project: Time Off found that American workers used an average of 16 vacation days in 2013—down more than 20% from pre-2000 vacation rates. The frequency of full-week vacations has been falling for decades, but shorter vacations have also been declining consistently since the mid-90s.
As a result, U.S. workers are leaving an average of five PTO days—25% of the available time—unused every year. Preventing burnout and retaining talent are significant challenges when managers have to contend with “work martyrs” who are reluctant to take personal, vacation, and even sick leave.
However, the decline in traditional vacations has occurred alongside a major shift in the way people work. Flexible schedules and cloud-based mobile workforce management tools such as hoteling software and mobile time clocks are empowering employees to achieve a more desirable balance in their day-to-day life.
Demographic evolution in the workforce will continue to drive the trend toward flexible, but less-defined work schedules. A recent study by Bentley University found that 77% of Millennials believe flexible time and attendance policies make people more productive—and 96% say flexible hours are an important factor when choosing between two jobs.
Office Hoteling Software Facilitates Vacation-Season Workspace Management
Despite the decline in vacation time usage, summertime travel is still extremely common. A 2016 survey by American Express found that 80% of Americans (and almost 90% of Millennials) planned summer getaways—with many planning multiple shorter trips.
During the 2017 spring and summer vacation season, American workers in virtually every sector of the economy will enjoy unprecedented flexibility in how, when, and where they work. With today’s mobile time tracking tools and the emphasis on performance over attendance, employees often don’t need to schedule a week off work to visit the beach, spend time with family, or travel.
However, planning for the impact of employee vacations is much more difficult as a result of the shift away from long, scheduled vacations toward a mobile, “always on” workforce. Once upon a time, the basic formula was simple: one office, cubicle, or desk per employee, and regular one-to-two-week vacations clustered during the summer months, school vacations, and the Christmas season.
Today, the equation is much more complicated, and static seating assignments increasingly result in underutilized space. Office hoteling software can be a critical aid in allocating workspace efficiently when spring and summer weather tempts mobile employees to spend more time away from the office—whether it’s on vacation or working remotely.