New Survey Reveals Economy Forcing Many Financial Executives to Forgo Time Off

MENLO PARK, CA -- In a sign of the times, nearly one in three (31 percent) financial executives interviewed recently said they will be taking fewer vacation days or skipping vacations altogether this summer to focus their efforts on navigating the current economic climate.

The survey was developed by Robert Half Management Resources, the world’s premier provider of senior-level accounting and finance professionals on a project and interim basis. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 1,400 chief financial officers (CFOs) from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with 20 or more employees.

CFOs were asked, “Has the economy forced you to postpone or reduce the amount of vacation you plan to take this year?” Their responses:

No   68%
Yes   31%
Don't know/no answer     1%

“Many CFOs understandably feel they must remain diligent helping steer their firms through the downturn and, just as important, prepare the business for an ultimate recovery,” said Paul McDonald, executive director of Robert Half Management Resources.

McDonald notes, however, that while executives are often expected to maintain a close watch in a challenging economy, their teams still should be encouraged to take time off. “A company’s hardest-working employees are often the ones that delay vacations during busy periods, reflecting their commitment to the organization and also their concern about playing ‘catch up’ when they return,” he said. 

McDonald offers the following tips for managers to help their team members enjoy a relaxing and guilt-free respite:

Develop a game plan. Create a system for granting vacation requests and plan accordingly. The sooner you can determine how you will cover for vacationing employees, the better.

Safeguard client relationships. Make sure staff members alert clients and other key business contacts when they will be on vacation and give details on who will be handling requests while they are out.

Use vacations as a ‘testing ground.’ Allow high-potential employees to take on greater responsibility when teams are thin, giving you the chance to evaluate them for future advancement opportunities.

Seek interim support. Companies operating with less people risk overloading remaining staff. Arrange additional staffing support when workloads become unmanageable.

Squeeze in some R&R for yourself. Taking a break is essential to recharging and bringing a fresh approach to business projects and challenges. It also sets a good example for employees who may otherwise feel compelled to do without a vacation.

Robert Half Management Resources has more than 145 offices worldwide, and offers online job search services at www.roberthalfmr.com.



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