You’re Stressing Out Your Coworkers by Taking a Vacation

Oct 9, 2018

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While you’re vacationing on the beach with a piña colada in hand, your colleagues back in the office may be feeling aggrieved.

A survey conducted by OnePoll in September, on behalf of Nugg — a cannabis telemedicine and delivery service — asked 2,000 employed Americans about their most stressful experiences. More than half (53%) said that covering for a coworker on vacation was a significantly stressful event. Called the “cover crunch,” 37% of respondents said they’ve felt resentment toward a coworker for leaving their workload behind.

Why so bitter? The study determined that the average American’s workload increases by nearly a third when covering for a colleague on vacation. And 21% of workers step in for an employee who makes more money than they do. (Perhaps unsurprisingly, approximately half of the people surveyed said employees covering for coworkers should get paid more.)

Since Americans already have enough on their plates, 40% of the respondents admitted they don’t care much about the quality of work they do on behalf of an out-of-office employee. So it’s probably best to wrap up important projects before heading out of town.

Although your coworkers may temporarily loathe your existence (or lack thereof), you shouldn’t feel too bad. When they have a chance to take advantage of their paid vacation days, it will be your turn to pick up their slack.

In addition to vacationing associates, the survey determined 40 significant daily scenarios that created stress for Americans — and more than a few were travel related. The survey found that traffic (35%), public transportation delays (27%), slow drivers (26%) and just missing the train or bus (17%) are all serious sources of routine stress. Only 13% of those surveyed identified airports as a source of regular stress.

But following out-of-town colleagues, the two most prominent sources of stress for Americans are slow Wi-Fi (45%) and having a computer freeze (48%). So when it’s your time to cash in your PTO, seriously consider booking a digital detox and leaving the devices in the office.

Feature image by Klaus Vedfelt / Getty Images. 

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