Article: Indian employees are sceptical of taking leave: BA survey


Indian employees are sceptical of taking leave: BA survey

A recent survey breaks down how Indian employees view time away from work. The survey points to dangerous and unhealthy work culture in the country.
Indian employees are sceptical of taking leave: BA survey

How comfortable and confident do you feel in seeking a leave of absence? Is taking time off frowned upon in your company? Or are you actively encouraged to step back every once in a while? Are you able to enjoy your time away from work, or does work find its way back to you? A survey by British Airways has the answers to these questions.  Conducted between December 20, 2017, and January 4, 2018, the survey takes into account the views and experience of 2,006 Indian employees. 

Following are some of the findings of the survey:

  • On an average, employed adults in India get 17 days of paid holidays per year. 

  • However, 42% of the respondents are often concerned with the mounting pressure of work, and another 26% are unable to find the time to disengage from their official responsibilities. 

  • Nearly 30% of the respondents admitted to being unable to ask for a leave, as many were of the belief that two-week holidays will be viewed negatively at their organization.

  • 65% of the respondents had leftover holidays allowance at the end of last year. Over half of these respondents named ‘being too occupied with work’ as the top-most reason for the same. 

  • 60% of the employees said that they are unable to ‘switch off,’ or disengage from work, during their days off and on holiday; primarily due to work pressure and changing priorities. The reasons for the same were found to be: wishing more time was spent in vacationing (59%), short duration of the break (32%) and dreading the return to work (11%).

  • 97% of the respondents had roll-over holidays plans, of which 49% said that they spend the day at home, 34% admitted to being usually involved in some office work, and 27% told that all their time is blocked for administrative responsibilities. 

  • Nearly 16% admitted to being anxious about using up the remaining holiday days in December. 

The above findings reflect an acutely distorted and unhealthy work culture in India. The notion that working more is equal to working hard is deeply ingrained in a society with a sky-high competition for jobs. Time and again studies have shown that working longer hours, or without taking leave, actually hampers productivity and efficiency. The survey also added that the phenomena of employees not opting to take time off is more prevalent in Asian countries, as a result of the culture of overwork in countries like Japan, China, South Korea and India. 

There is an urgent need to turn around this trend. It is human tendency to want to take a break and disengage for leisure and rejuvenation, however, if employees continue to believe that taking leave will work against them, it robs them of an important opportunity to disengage from work. The fact that even those who take some time off find it challenging to dissociate from work completely is equally troubling. While a healthy and fair leave policy is essential to the work culture of an organization, employers will need to start focusing on proactively communicating their employees to utilize their leaves. Only when employees are assured that their absence, or refusal to work during their time off, will not be held against them, will they begin to exercise their right to take off more comfortably. However, we need to be mindful of the fact that until such a time comes, the damage inflicted by this precarious attitude might have lasting and irreversible effects. 



ET Report

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Topics: Culture, Life @ Work

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