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Holidays 2021: Greater Job, Travel Confidence Despite Working Longer Hours and For Less This Year

Monday November 15th, 2021

Estimated time to read: 2 minutes

Tis’ the season for holiday togetherness and travel…or is it? isolved surveyed over 1,000 full-time employees (FTEs) in the United States to understand how employees and employers view end-of-year parties and paid time off. 

To provide context to these findings, however, we wanted to know how 2021 has shaped out for our respondents when it comes to work stability. Forty-nine percent of them said their job was negatively impacted by the pandemic in 2021. This is less negative impact than 2020 when 54 percent of FTEs had their job negatively impacted by the pandemic. Still, however, the workforce was disrupted, here are the top disruptors our respondents faced (in order):

  1. Reduced hours 
  2. Had to work longer hours 
  3. Reduced pay 
  4. Didn’t receive an expected pay increase 
  5. My coworkers were laid off
  6. I was furloughed
  7. I was laid off
  8. I was forced to go back into the office
  9. I was not able to hire as expected

Knowing that a good portion of the workforce fit somewhere on the spectrum of not being able to work or having to work longer and for less, it is not surprising that what employees most want from their employers this holiday season is a bonus, followed by an annual merit increase and then job security to round out the top-three wishes. In 2020, the top three were (1) a bonus, (2) job security and (3) an annual merit increase – showing increased job confidence this year than last. Dead last on the list of what employees want from their employers this holiday season is a party, in-person or virtual. It appears employees want to be shown the money instead.

Still, employees plan to take time for themselves and their families this holiday season – with 62 percent of them planning to take the same amount of paid time off (PTO) as they did in 2020. Looking at 2020’s data, 40 percent planned to take the same amount of PTO as they did in 2019.

While the amount of PTO being taken during the holidays isn’t drastically changing, how employees are spending that time is. 

The majority (51 percent) of FTEs do not plan to travel out of state this holiday season – that number, however, was 70 percent in 2020. This means, there is more confidence in out-of-state travel than there was last year when so much about COVID-19 was still unknown and the vast majority of the population was unvaccinated. 

Employees, despite the majority saying their jobs were negatively impacted in 2021, also feel secure about their job this holiday season. In 2021, 88 percent feel their job is secure this holiday season compared to 81 percent in 2020.

It appears this goodwill may be carrying over into gift-giving as more full-time employees will purchase gifts for their colleagues this year (49 percent) compared to 2020 (37 percent). Even so, that means the majority of full-time employees (51 percent) will not purchase a gift for their colleagues in 2021. 

What this data suggests in total is people are resilient. They’ve experienced setbacks at home and at work but have carved out what new norms mean to them. From an employer standpoint, however, is clear that the workforce wants more than goodwill – they are seeking bonuses, security and time off.  

Looking for more employee insights? Check out isolved's Voice of the Workforce report.