America is the land of vanishing vacations. We’ve gone from 10-day trips with extended family and sending post cards home to friends, to weekend get-a-ways, followed by the ever-efficient “staycation,” and finally, we’re here. The modern no-cation. We work in offices where no one dares leave at their scheduled time, we scarf down last night’s leftovers at our desk and call it lunch, and we steal precious hours of our weekend to stay up to date on emails, incoming projects, and catching up on what wasn’t down in the 50-hour work week. And after all that, we’re still terrified to take a break.
Why Americans Don’t Vacation
U.K. based software company Kimble Applications conducted a study that revealed 47 percent of American’s didn’t use all their vacation time in 2017, with 21 percent leaving more than five vacation days on the table.
According to the research, there are four main reasons we refuse to disconnect from the office. Whether you’ve felt one or all of these, chances are you’ve missed out on paid leave of your own. Let’s delve into what causes the phobia of vacation.
4 Reasons We Refuse Refuge
- Vacations (although deigned for relaxation) cause stress. Having “too many projects or deadlines” is the reason 27 percent of workers don’t vaca and 13 percent fear “the amount of work they’ll return to.” These thoughts are what keep us glued to our phones and tablets…while sitting on the beach. Why take vacation at all when the only difference is now you’re doing work with sand in your shorts?
- The boss isn’t big on breaks. Of the survey participants, 19 percent reported they skipped time off because they were “pressured by their manager not to take a vacation.”
- We’re so accessible anyway. Whether because of our digital screen addiction or the free wifi on every street corner, it’s nearly impossible to unplug long enough to enjoy drinks with friends much less spend days with no connection to work, which is why 48 percent of participants admitted to checking on work while vacationing. A frightening 19 percent said they check in every day.
- Vacations stall your career. If ever there’s a time to take over a lead worker’s role, it’s while she’s on vacation, or at least that what 14 percent of workers believe. The participants said refusing to use all allotted vacation time “increases their chances for advancement.”
Doing more with less
During the economic fallout that started in 2008, companies were laying off workers in mass numbers, but didn’t want productivity to slow. As a result, managers of businesses across the country started demanding more with (and sometimes for) less.
While businesses and managers are driven to increase the bottom line, it’s crucial to find the balance. Guilting workers into a vacation-free zone isn’t good leadership, and ultimately will cost the company great talent. It’s time to take our vacations back – even if for just a few days – so we have a chance to recharge and avoid burnout. Gaining perspective has never felt as good as doing it from the shore of an island where no one knows your name, with a frozen drink in hand – not your cell phone.
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