One-third of Americans plan on working during their summer vacation

Americans have mixed feelings about summer: we love our long weekends and summer Fridays, yet we regularly let work encroach on our hard-earned vacations (if we’re taking them at all). A report from project management software company Wrike surveyed 1,134 full-time employees about summer productivity and whether or not Americans really disconnected during their summer vacations,

On average, about 35% of people planned to use between six to 10 vacation days this summer, with 30% taking between one to five days. Another near-third (28%), budgeted 11+ vacation days for the May-September months. Not too shabby!

Still, the weeklong vacation reigns. The maximum number of consecutive vacation days that the majority of people tended to take at one time was one to five days (48%).

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Working when you’re being paid not to

More than one in three Americans expected to work while on vacation. Ten percent “weren’t sure” if they would or wouldn’t. Women are less likely to work while on vacay: 30% of them intend or work or plan to be available to work, compared to 40% of men.

This might be because women are more likely to get their work done before they go on holiday (34%), compared to 27% of men.

Like men, Millennials are more likely to work on vacation (42%), when compared with Gen X and Boomers (28%). They’re influenced by their boss’ off-time work habits, saying that they’re more likely to work on their summer break if their boss does so, too (45%). Other generations are much less influenced in this way.

Millennials are also more likely to feel guilty while they’re on vacation (40%), compared with Boomers and Gen X (29%).

What kind of work are they doing?

No one’s doing major projects or heavy loads – it’s mainly forwarding time-sensitive emails (22%), or taking calls or emails from their boss (24%). A small workaholic contingent says they’ll do what it takes, as long as it takes, to move their projects ahead (12%).

Men are more likely to work on their vacation if they have a boss that does the same (57%), while women are much less influenced by their boss’s workaholic vacation habits (39%).

A healthy third says they do no work at all and completely totally zone out while on vacation.

Summer in the office: like a vacation at work

Everybody knows that productivity in the office goes down during the summer months, as people flit in and out, and everybody pines for the next long weekend or summer Friday.

Or is that a myth? Just 26% of respondents said their workloads were lighter during the summer. The majority, 57%, said their workload was “about the same,” as was their productivity (62%). A third didn’t report that summer held any productivity roadblock for them, and just 16% said the expected: that teammates and colleagues weren’t around when they needed them.

Still, when asked to pick several ideas from a list to improve summer productivity, employees had a host of ideas:

  • 38% suggested reducing hours or switching to a 4-day work week
  • 34% wanted to allow for more remote work
  • 25% suggested shutting down the office and having everyone take a vacation at once
  • 22% wanted to host events and fun activities to keep teams engaged
  • 20% wanted to provide or assist with employee childcare

That sounds ambitious. And, well, it’s summer! Here’s an idea for you: one of these Fridays, sneak out early for a ballgame, and create your own three-day weekend.