Americans Working Harder, Vacationing Less

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College students are not the only ones who look forward to Spring Break. Between late February and mid-April, families from coast to coast will take advantage of a few days off to relax, recharge and rejuvenate.

Sadly, according to the American Vacation 2018 report, a significant number of working adults are skipping out on taking vacation time, opting to work instead. The report, based on a national survey of working adults who receive paid time off from their employers, showed that 52 percent of the workers polled left unused vacation days on the table.

According to the survey, employees that used the least amount of their earned vacation time feared taking a vacation would make them appear less dedicated. This was followed by those who reported their work load was too heavy. In the Alamo Rent a Car Family Vacation Survey, 49 percent of individuals said their co-workers make them feel guilty for taking time off and letting others pick up the slack.

Employees that are sacrificing vacation time may feel they are doing their employers a favor, but in reality they are less productive than their vacation-taking counterparts. An internal survey by Ernst & Young showed that for each additional 10 hours of vacation that an employee took, their performance review score improved by 8 percent.

Employees who take vacations are also healthier, overall, including being less stressed. A study by the State University of New York at Oswego showed a 30 percent increased risk of dying from heart disease in men ages 35-57 who did not take at least a one week-long vacation per year.

Small start-up SimpliFlying did an experiment requiring employees to take one week off of work after every seven weeks. To ensure employees did not work during their time off, SimpliFlying told them they would not be paid for their week off if they contacted the office during their vacation. The experiment results showed a 33 percent increase in creativity, 25 percent increase in happiness and 13 percent increase in productivity.

There are other ways employers can encourage their workforce to take their earned vacation time. One way is by ensuring managers and upper-level executives are taking vacation time themselves, modeling a commitment to personal time. Some companies are providing work-life resources to help their employees plan their vacation time.

Caleigh Thomas, Life and Aging Team Lead

Caleigh Thomas is the Daily Living and Elder Care Team Lead at Workplace Options, the world’s largest independent provider of employee wellbeing support solutions. Caleigh and her team do vacation planning research, as well as other types of research, on behalf of employees as part of their work-life benefits. According to Caleigh, the team has assisted with every type of travel imaginable, from international vacations for single travelers to large family vacations.

At Workplace Options, work-life consultants conduct time-saving vacation research related to hotel availability, nearby attractions, and price comparisons. For participants who are on a strict budget, consultants can identify free or low-cost travel options, sometimes within the participants own city.

Caleigh’s team also assists with matters related to travel, including identifying available resources for pet-care and house-sitting. “Often the people we serve enjoy taking vacations, but hate the idea of planning a vacation,” explains Caleigh. “It can be time-consuming and time is something that many employees just don’t have enough of.”

Workplace Options helps employees balance their work, family and personal needs to become healthier, happier and more productive, both personally and professionally. The company’s world-class employee support, effectiveness and wellbeing services provide information, resources, referrals and consultation on a variety of issues ranging from dependent care and stress management to clinical services and wellness programs. To learn more visit