Wednesday AM July 1st, 2009

Nearly one in three financial executives say they will be taking fewer vacation days — or skipping vacations altogether — to navigate the current economic climate. Ed Mayberry reports.

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A Robert Half International survey finds that 31 per cent of the respondents say they are likely to reduce the number of vacation days this year, or skip the vacation altogether.  Phil Willingham with Robert Half’s Houston office says executives understandably feel they must remain diligent in helping steer their firms through the downturn.

“Through the economic recession, many companies have been put into a situation where they’ve had to implement hiring freezes, layoffs, consolidation of roles to manage through it.  As a result, there’s heavier workloads, and from a financial executive’s position, they feel like they need to be there more or readily available for the company to help navigate through tough times.  Others would look at is as maybe it’s just a luxury they can’t afford right now.  But primarily so that they can put full attention to their business needs to help the firm weather the economic situation.”

Willingham says while executives are often expected to maintain a close watch in a challenging economy, their teams still should be encouraged to take time off.

“We would encourage — and most of the executives would say that they encourage their teams — to actually take more time off.  I think they’re taking more of the shoulder of the, of the — or the brunt of it, if you will — to not take the vacation on themselves, but would encourage their staff to do so.  Endorsing vacation time actually sends a strong message to the teams and the staff that it’s acceptable to take time off, and it is important to ultimately recharge the batteries at some point.  Otherwise, it’s going to start affecting productivity.”   

Ed Mayberry, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.