A recent survey conducted by the job website Glassdoor found that the average American employee only uses 51 percent of his or her paid vacation days. The 2,300 person survey also found that 61% of Americans work while they’re on vacation.
This is the face I made when I first read about this study:
Americans: What’s wrong with ya’ll?
When asked why they don’t take advantage of their paid leave, some sited financial reasons while others claimed going on vacation wasn’t worth having to face to a massive backlog of work when they returned. 35 percent claimed they couldn’t take time off because there was no one able to do their job in their absence. Then there were those that feared loosing their job or a chance at a promotion. 17 percent fretted they’d get fired if they used all of their earned leave.
While I can understand the job security worries and financial concerns, I think Americans are doing themselves a huge disservice. The health benefits of travel are numerous. Research has found that traveling helps you live longer, it makes you happier and it makes your children smarter. What’s more, studies have found that vacations can improve your marriage.
I think the only way this will change is if Americans stop viewing travel as a frivolous pursuit and start seeing it as a vital component of good mental and emotional health. Because the truth is, taking time off does not mean you’re lazy or a bad employee. If anything, some scheduled time off will make you a better employee—and a healthier, more well-adjusted human being.
So whatch ya waiting for, fellow Americans? Drop that spreadsheet and book a ticket to Tahiti!