Economy Forcing Many Financial Executives to Forgo Time Off

June 18, 2009
Some tips on how to enjoy a guilt-free respite.

In a sign of the times, nearly one in three (31%) financial executives interviewed recently said they will be taking fewer vacation days or skipping vacations altogether this summer to focus their efforts on navigating the current economic climate.

In a survey developed by Robert Half Management Resources, CFOs were asked,"Has the economy forced you to postpone or reduce the amount of vacation you plan to take this year?" No was the answer for 68% followed by yes at 31%, and 1% didn't know.

"Many CFOs understandably feel they must remain diligent helping steer their firms through the downturn and, just as important, prepare the business for an ultimate recovery," said Paul McDonald, executive director of Robert Half Management Resources.

McDonald notes, however, that while executives are often expected to maintain a close watch in a challenging economy, their teams still should be encouraged to take time off. "A companys hardest-working employees are often the ones that delay vacations during busy periods, reflecting their commitment to the organization and also their concern about playing 'catch up' when they return," he said. McDonald offers the following tips for managers to help their team members enjoy a relaxing and guilt-free respite:

  • Develop a game plan. Create a system for granting vacation requests and plan accordingly. The sooner you can determine how you will cover for vacationing employees, the better.
  • Safeguard client relationships. Make sure staff members alert clients and other key business contacts when they will be on vacation and give details on who will be handling requests while they are out.
  • Use vacations as a 'testing ground.' Allow high-potential employees to take on greater responsibility when teams are thin, giving you the chance to evaluate them for future advancement opportunities.
  • Seek interim support. Companies operating with less people risk overloading remaining staff. Arrange additional staffing support when workloads become unmanageable.
  • Squeeze in some R&R for yourself. Taking a break is essential to recharging and bringing a fresh approach to business projects and challenges. It also sets a good example for employees who may otherwise feel compelled to do without a vacation.

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