One sign of the tough economic times is that the very thought of taking a vacation has become stressful, according to a recent survey.

Though most employees say they happily switch off work once they leave the office, both getting out the door and coming back take a toll, according to the Work Watch survey, by Atlanta-based Randstad, a human resources company.

The biggest source of stress is the first day back, according to 77 percent of the 2065 full-time and part-time respondents, but even the last day before leaving can be traumatic, say 44 percent of people in the survey.

I suspect some of the results could be connected to increased workload because of layoffs, said Rebecca Johnson, senior vice president of Randstad.

Some 539,000 people lost their jobs in April, according to the latest U.S. government non-farm payrolls report, pushing the U.S. unemployment rate to 8.9 percent.

Younger employees are more likely to stress above leaving on holiday. Generation Y employees, those aged between 18 and 34, find it harder to give up their responsibilities than any other demographic.

They are independent and confident (people) and it is difficult for them to give up control and get it all moved over, said Johnson.

Some 35 percent of Generation Y employees say it's hard to give up control of their projects compared with 32 percent of Generation X, those aged 35-44, 28 percent of people 45 to 54, and 19 percent of those over 55.

Generation Y was also the most likely to hold face-to-face meetings to review projects and answer questions while preparing a boss and co-workers for a vacation absence, according to the survey.

Taking a vacation gets easier as you get older because you realize it is all there when you get back, Johnson said.

Generation Y employees were more likely to plan for a vacation while at work, 61 percent, compared with 53 percent of those overall. Women, at 59 percent, are more likely than men, 49 percent, to make vacation plans at work.

A separate Marist Poll found fewer than half of all Americans, 49 percent, plan on taking a summer vacation this year, compared with 63 percent in the a similar survey two years ago.