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Monthly Poll | Taking Annual Leave

By SRAI News posted 11-10-2021 03:18 PM


Monthly Poll | Taking Annual Leave

My recent experiences with taking annual leave and struggling to disconnect during my time away led to the series of questions we asked last month. We asked you to tell us how frequently you actually utilize your vacation time. Among respondents, the most common answer was that 37% of you occasionally take time off while 33% of you take vacation leave annually. And 20% of us only take vacation time when we’re going to lose it. I fall into this category too! The vacation days I recently used were going to expire at the end of the calendar year.

Our next question asked how you utilize your sick leave. The most common response was an overwhelming 62% who said rarely. Either we are a remarkably healthy bunch, or we might just have a problem disconnecting from our desks. Has working remotely made it too easy to work while you’re sick? Or are our offices so short staffed that we really don’t feel like we can step away even when we’re unwell?

We’ve spent a lot of time discussing the impacts of the pandemic. So we asked you to tell us whether or not the pandemic has changed your vacation time usage. 54% said there was no change but 42% of you said that you’re taking less vacation time during the pandemic. On one hand it seems weird to request vacation time when the options of where to go and how to get there are still so impacted by the pandemic. But on the other hand, we all need the time away that we earn. Only 13% of respondents typically take two weeks of vacation at one time. The vast majority of us take somewhere from a few days to a week and some of us have even curtailed taking that much time away during the pandemic.

And when we do take vacation...we’re still working! There are 29% of you out there that still check your email and complete tasks on most of your vacation days. And another 54% of you check email periodically while you’re on vacation so that you can delegate tasks. I challenge you to join me in taking two whole weeks completely disconnected from work in the next calendar year! I know it’s going to be one of my resolutions for the coming year. Just don’t ask me what my personal success rate is on achieving those lofty resolutions. But I still try. I get points for that, right? 

This month, the Catalyst committee has been talking about the skills needed to succeed in this field. We want to know, what skills do you have that have made you successful? We also want to explore what skills we are seeking in our candidate pools as we wonder if we’re asking for the right skill set in job descriptions to bring the right people into the field.

Authored by Heather Brown, Grants and Contracts Administrator
Duke Human Vaccine Institute