Many workers are worn out and ready to make up for lost vacation time, new research from global staffing firm Robert Half suggests.

More than four in 10 professionals surveyed (44%) said they are more burned out on the job today compared to a year ago, up from 34% in a similar 2020 poll. Nearly half of employees experiencing increased fatigue (49%) blame it on a heavier workload.

“After enduring more than a year of long hours and little time off, many workers are feeling burned out and need a break to relax and refresh,” said Paul McDonald, senior executive director at Robert Half.

“Running on empty can have a negative effect on employees' mental health and well-being, and managers should make it a priority to encourage their teams to enjoy a well-deserved vacation.”

In a separate survey of professionals, one in four said they forfeited paid time off in 2020 and one in three plan to take more than three weeks of vacation time this year.

In addition, 57% said they are ready for an "awaycation" to travel and completely disconnect from work; in comparison, 32% prefer a staycation, and only 11% favour a "workcation" or a vacation that combines work and leisure.

Despite the need to take time off, the Robert Half survey revealed that “unplugging could prove difficult for 28% of employees, who admitted they'll be checking in with work frequently when they take time off this summer.”

Managers, said McDonald, can “foster a vacation-friendly culture by taking time off themselves and disconnecting as much as possible when they do. Planning for staff absences including bringing in contract professionals can also help ease people's anxiety about missing work, minimize disruptions and ensure continued productivity."