According to the report made by Project: Time Off, U.S. workers accrued an average of 21.9 vacation days in the previous year. Despite the accumulation of leaves, however, at least 55 percent of workers chose not to go on vacation for travel or leisure.
The Hidden Cost of Unused Vacation Time
In a shocking twist, however, the unwillingness of employees to go on leave hurts the economy. By not exercising the privilege to go on leave, Americans are volunteering hundreds of millions of days of unpaid work for their companies which translate to billions of dollars in forfeited benefits. These vacation days had the promise of injecting at least $223 billion to the U.S. economy.
A Nation of Workaholics
The reason Americans are turning into a nation of workaholics is not just because of the 24/7 connectivity brought about by mobile technology. In a recent survey, researchers found that almost half (47 percent) of surveyed managers dreaded returning to a backlog of work and felt pressured to check in while they were away.
The researchers at Project: Time Off also found that around 65 percent of employees do not hear any encouragement about taking time offs, leading a majority of the employees to believe that their companies do not advocate taking vacation. Silence about the topic is a major issue.
To solve this, some companies resorted to offering unlimited vacation to encourage employees to consume their vacation leave credits. Other companies, like Evernote and Buffer, even resorted to giving employees $1,000 just for them to go on leave for at least a week.
Don’t Fret, Vacation Leaves Won’t Go Extinct
The Project: Time Off report did end on a positive note. Researchers think that paid time offs won’t go away. They noted that scheduling time offs in advance resulted in better follow-through and utilizing more of the available time to travel. In addition, scheduling vacation leaves can improve a person’s mood. Employees who took their time to schedule their vacation led in increased happiness in these factors: personal relationships with family/friends/significant other, personal financial situation, job, professional success, physical health, and overall outlook and mood.
If you’re an employee, ask yourself this: are you making good use of your vacation leaves? Remember that taking time off not only helps the economy, but also helps improve your mood and prevents you from burning out.