‘Silent Vacations’: 40% of Millennials and Gen Z Have Used Remote Work to Take a Break Without Permission

  • According to a study, 37% of millennials took advantage of remote work to take breaks without asking their bosses for permission.

  • The posturing involved in the “culture of effort” is one of the reasons for hiding their breaks.

“Silent Vacations”: 40% of millennials and Gen Z have used remote work to take breaks without permission
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Millennials and generation Z increasingly value flexible scheduling options and the chance to work remotely, as Randstad’s most recent Employer Brand Research 2024 report shows. As a result, “silent vacations” are on the rise, a new trend among young people taking covert breaks without their bosses’ permission.

The fear of taking breaks because of “what people might think.” According to the Out of Office Culture Report by The Harris Poll consulting firm on a base of 1,170 U.S. employees, 37% of millennials had taken a few days off where they pretended to be teleworking but were actually on vacation. Meanwhile, 24% of the Gen Z have also confessed to doing the same thing.

The report found that this practice is mainly carried out in Latin American countries and the U.S., where taking time off or going on vacation is frowned upon. Director of strategy Libby Rodney points out that in these countries, it’s common for employees, especially younger ones, not to use their annual leave because they don’t want their bosses to think that they're lazy.

Their modus operandi. The study points out that 37% of millennials scheduled messages during their working hours to simulate that they were solving tasks and even added some additional ones to make their bosses believe they were working beyond their normal schedule. 27% of the Gen Zers surveyed also admitted to having used this trick.

The strategies are sneaky: 38% used strategies such as periodically moving their mouse to keep their status active in corporate communication apps (Slack, Teams, etc.).

The counterproductive culture of not resting. 76% of employees surveyed say they would like their company culture to emphasize the importance of rest and ensure that enjoying paid time off isn’t a weakness.

In this regard, remote work lets employees take unreported days to rest while claiming they’re not using their “official” vacation days. Writer and journalist George Anders pointed out in a LinkedIn post that Gen Z feels guilty if they don’t work on vacation and disconnect a little bit on their days off.

European-style vacations. Young people in Latin America and the U.S. envy Europe's paid vacation policies and culture. In Europe, the average is four weeks of paid vacation per year. In the U.S., it's 10 days. In addition, European companies understand the importance role of rest in productivity, so bosses don't look down on those who take the vacations they're legally entitled to.

According to The Guardian, the United Kingdom is the outlier in this regard. Many UK residents stated that they were “too busy to take all their vacation days.”

Image | Pexels (Armin Rimoldi)

Related | Someone Thought of Turning Disneyland Into a Remote Office. Now It’s One of Gen Z’s Favorite Places to Work

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