A full week's vacation is a rarity for half of Americans
- More than half of Americans have not checked out of the workplace for a week-long vacation in more than a year, according to the 10th annual Allianz Global Assistance Vacation Confidence Index. Allianz, a travel insurance and assistance company, defined a vacation as a leisure trip lasting at least a week in a location that's 100 miles or more away from home.
- The survey showed that 38% of Americans haven't taken a full week's vacation in more than two years. Nearly a third, however, took a vacation in the last four to 12 months, and 18% vacationed in the past three months.
- Allianz also measured the confidence with which Americans approach vacation time. The survey showed that 44% said they do not feel confident, while 32% said they feel very confident. By contrast, 26% said they were not at all confident about taking time off for leisure.
This isn't the first study to show that U.S. workers aren't always taking their full, allotted vacation time. Some company cultures guilt workers about leisure time, leaving them feeling that a vacation will make them look like a slacker. And when employees do take a vacation, they spend a good part of their time away plugged into work, regularly checking email and voicemail messages.
Burnout has pervaded the workplace, making it even more imperative that employees take vacations or sufficient time off to relax, refresh and regroup. In a CareerBuilder study, 61% of workers said they feel burned out in their jobs, but 33% won't take time off to decompress. Stress takes a major toll on employees' health, often causing fatigue, sleeplessness, aches and pains, anxiety and weight gain, according to the CareerBuilder survey.
Encouraging employees to take vacation and sufficient time off may pay off as a good business practice. Employers can begin culture shifts to promote time off. Some employers have gone so far as to limit the hours workers can access email and voicemail when out of the office. France, in fact, is trying this out as a nation. But a more practical solution might well be regular, mandatory time off.