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Employees in the U.S. are notorious for not taking their allotted, employer-paid vacation time. Even when they do take time off, they often use some of that time to work and check e-mail. 

Fifty-four percent of U.S. professionals said they are unable to unplug from work or do not believe they can fully do so while on paid time off (PTO), according to a survey conducted by Glassdoor. While most professionals cannot or do not believe they can fully unplug from work, Glassdoor’s survey found differences based on employee demographics. 

Leslie Tarnacki, SVP of HR at WorkForce Software, spoke with SHRM about why employees are hesitant to take time away from work and why it’s so important for managers to support employees during their time off. 

“Some employees don’t use their time in a fear of missing out on important company updates or because of the increased stress that comes with the build-up of tasks that need to be completed immediately before they take time off and/or once they return to the office,” Tarnacki said. 

Additionally, in an uncertain economy, many employers are putting off filling vacant roles, which can increase the burden on employees. These fears can cause staff members to work when they should be enjoying their time off. 

Tarnacki adds, “To prevent employees from feeling overwhelmed during their time away and to encourage them to take their paid time off to relax and do the things they love the most. It’s essential … [to] support employees during their holiday or vacation and allow them to have uninterrupted time away.”