I have long believed that one way to avoid employee problems (and therefore employee claims) is to give serious attention to the fact that Americans simply work too hard. Study after study and article after article has pointed to the overstressed and overworked condition of American workers. Here is the latest story I've come across. This one, from the Mercury News notes yet another study by the non-profit Families and Work Institute. The study points out the irony that the very factors giving companies a competitive edge and healthy bottom line -- technology, multitasking and globalization -- may be undermining their workers' physical and emotional well-being. As the boundaries between office hours and off hours continue to blur, one in three American employees report being chronically overworked, according to the survey. Slightly more workers forfeit some of their paid vacation time -- and two in five work while on vacation -- in part because they can't escape their demanding jobs.
Here is where the data becomes something employers should pay attention to: 39 percent of intensely overworked employees say they are angry at their employers for expecting so much of them, vs. only 1 percent of employees who have low levels of overwork. And 34 percent of extremely overworked employees often resent their co-workers who don't work as hard, compared with 12 percent of employees at low levels of overwork. And angry employees are plaintiffs in the making.
So if you are an employee -- take your vacation. If you are an employer -- let them. And then...take one yourself.