While it might be assumed that Americans happily take time off, the reality is that the average U.S. employee takes only half of his or her eligible vacation time.
According to Glassdoor’s Q1 2014 Employment Confidence Survey, among those who actually do go on vacation, three in five admitted to doing some work. And some employees were disturbed on their vacation about a work-related issue, either by a co-worker (25%) or their supervisor (20%).
“That’s a shame because a number of studies have shown that taking time away from the job can have physical and psychological health benefits,” says Steve Blake, vice-president of clinical operations at Managed Health Network.
Workers who don’t take advantage of the vacation time that they’re eligible for could be shortchanging themselves in terms of benefits to their health, he adds.
A number of studies have shown the potential health benefits associated with vacations.
The University of Pittsburgh’s Mind Body Center surveyed some 1,400 individuals and found that leisure activities—including taking vacations—contributed to higher positive emotional levels and less depression.
A study released last year by the American Psychological Association concluded that vacations work to reduce stress by removing people from activities and environments that tend to be sources of stress.
And EY (formerly Ernst & Young) conducted an internal study of its employees and found that for each additional 10 hours of vacation employees took, their year-end performance ratings improved 8%, and frequent vacationers were also significantly less likely to leave the firm.
“Many of these studies point to the importance of achieving balance in life,” Blake explains.