Expedia’s 2014 Vacation Deprivation study surveyed nearly 8,000 employees worldwide and asked about vacation habits and policies and what workers would give up for a week to get one additional vacation day.
“Somewhere between 80 and 90 percent of people worldwide say that vacations make them feel happier, better rested, closer to their family, less stressed and more relaxed,” said John Morrey, vice president and general manager of expedia.com. “These are all emotions that correlate to a productive employee. So it’s almost paradoxical: spend more time away from work, and you might just be a better performing employee.”
Many participants said they did not take all of the days they had, and others said their bosses frowned upon those who made full use of earned time off. Even in Europe, where the average worker gets 28 vacation days a year, some workers said they took their days despite the fact that it displeased their boss.
In the U.S., workers receive an average of 15 vacation days. But although U.S. workers get far fewer days than Europeans, they use most of them. Italians are the European exception: they only took 21 of 28 days.
Feeling “vacation deprived” did not seem to have much to do with how many days one received or took off. A little over half of U.S. workers said they felt vacation deprived.
The top four reasons globally that people cited for not taking all their accrued time off:
- “Work schedule does not allow for it” (19 percent);
- “Bank them/carry over to next year” (18 percent);
- “Lack of money” (18 percent);
- “Difficulty coordinating time” (16 percent).
Overall, 55 percent of all bosses said they approve of people taking all their time off. The most disapproving bosses were French and South Korean, while U.S. bosses were seen as supportive of time off by 72 percent of workers. The highest “boss approval” rate came from Norwegian respondents; 82 percent said their bosses were just fine with taking time off.
When asked “what would you give up for a week to get one more day off?” The top responses were:
- Junk food – 54 percent
- Alcohol – 48 percent
- Social media – 42 percent
- Television – 37 percent
- Coffee – 35 percent
- Sex – 24 percent
- Smartphone – 21 percent
- The Internet – 20 percent
- Taking a shower – 9 percent