Cost of living: Kiwis stockpiling annual leave, working from home to save money - new data

ELMO's Q3 Employee Sentiment Index found a raft of reasons why Kiwis aren't using their annual leave.
ELMO's Q3 Employee Sentiment Index found a raft of reasons why Kiwis aren't using their annual leave. Photo credit: Getty Images

As the summer holidays draw closer, new data shows Kiwi workers have plenty of annual leave and it might not be for good reason. 

In the latest data from ELMO's Q3 Employee Sentiment Index, Kiwis are stockpiling annual leave and working from home in a bid to save money amidst the cost of living crisis. 

ELMO found 80 percent of Kiwi workers who have accrued annual leave have reasons that are getting in the way of them taking a break. 

Of the 80 percent, nearly half (48 percent) said because of the rising cost of living, they won't take a break in an attempt to save money.

While one quarter (24 percent) said they aren't taking leave because of their workload, and one-fifth (19 percent) are worried about travelling because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

ELMO found by the end of September, one in five Kiwi employees had accrued more than the yearly entitlement of four weeks' leave. 

"The average employee [is] saving 22.5 days annual leave. Ten percent will have accrued more than two months of annual leave."

ELMO Software's co-founder and CEO Danny Lessem said the latest data should be a reminder for business leaders to prioritise leave management. 

"Allowing annual leave accrual to blow out not only impacts an organisation's bottom line, but it is a significant liability on the books, potentially costing New Zealand businesses millions of dollars."

Lessem said taking leave is "crucial" for the well-being of employees and added the impact of burnout has its flow-on effects on performance.

He said the data shows there is a need for business leaders to better understand why employees are not taking leave. 

"Is it due to unrealistic workloads, lack of resourcing, job insecurity, or because of the rising cost of living and economic uncertainty in New Zealand? Whatever the reason, it needs to be rapidly addressed by business leaders."

ELMO found the cost of living crisis isn't only affecting employees' decision to not take leave, but if they work in the office or not. 

The index found 58 percent of Kiwi workers are choosing to work from home to save money. Of those, 44 percent choose to work from home to save on transport costs, while 24 percent said it's because they spend more money on food when they work in the office. 

Interestingly, ELMO found 32 percent of those working from home said a free breakfast or catered lunch would entice them back into the office.

It also found 28 percent would work from the office if they received a subsidy or if their office setup had better technology than at home.

ELMO's data shows 25 percent of those working from home said they would return for wellness initiatives and 24 percent would do the same for career development sessions.