Kiwi workers are planning longer than usual summer holidays - regardless of what colour traffic light their city is locked into.
A recent poll by Frog Recruitment found one in four workers had applied for more annual leave this summer than they did last year - even if their region is in the red phase of the Government's new 'traffic light' system.
Work from home fatigue and hope of having at least some of the holidays out of lockdown are drivers for a longer break.
And covid-fatigue is also a driver with parents working from home with children to care for or homeschool just one stressor.
The Frog Recruitment poll asked 1547 employees if they are planning longer-than-usual summer holidays under the new Covid framework's red setting.
Thirty-nine per cent of respondents said they will be "taking off a few extra days", 21 per cent of employees intend to apply for up to two weeks more leave, and 39 per cent of Kiwi workers were logging off for three to four weeks.
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Frog Recruitment Managing Director Shannon Barlow said the expectation of a lockdown-free summer, or at least enjoying part of the summer out of lockdown, was tantalising for workers.
"Kiwi employees are embracing the prospect of enjoying a longer-than-usual summer holiday.
Barlow was not surprised people planned to redeem more annual leave.
2020 was tough for the Kiwi workforce as we pivoted and worked from home, setting up offices in lounges, bedrooms and kitchens around the country.
2021 hadn't been any kinder with extended lockdowns and children off school for more than two months and counting.
The Frog Recruitment poll revealed 66 per cent of respondents used less holiday leave in 2021, with 56 per cent of workers taking less than a week off work this year.
"With rising rates of pandemic-induced burnout, and an alarmingly high rate of mental health issues in the workplace, the festive season will be a much-needed circuit breaker for over-worked New Zealanders to enjoy more freedom than they have had for months," she said.
"We urge employers to encourage their people to use up their accrued leave and take a well-earned break.
The flipside Barlow said was that employers who hadn't been able to operate since August would have to plan ahead to meet holiday requests.
"Employers and business owners who haven't been able to operate at capacity since August will be eager to fully open their doors and welcome back holidaymakers," she said.
"Employers will need to plan ahead and deploy more resources to cover longer gaps in their work rosters and annual leave calendars over the summer months."
The recruiter said the sooner each region hit its vaccination targets, the better.
"We stand to have a more productive economy in the first quarter of 2022; not least because more businesses should be operating closer to their 'normal', but workers will be rejuvenated after enjoying an extended holiday.
"After an extraordinarily challenging year, the New Zealand workforce is ready for summer barbecues with friends and whanau."