Eighty-five percent of American workers say taking time off makes them happier — yet employees are more reluctant than ever to use their vacation days — according to an infographic from City Pass.
From 1976 to 2000, Americans took, on average, 20 vacation days a year. That number has steadily decreased by four days since.
So, why don’t workers want to use their hard-earned time off?
Forty percent say they don’t want work to pile up, thirty-five percent say no one else can do their jobs, and twenty-two percent don’t want to seem replaceable, among other reasons. And when vacation days are used, more than half of Americans don’t even use them for vacations, but rather personal obligations — like running errands or going to the doctor — that require missing work.
However, there are important health and productivity benefits to taking time off work, the infographic says:
- Ninety-one percent of employers say that after taking time off, their staffers return to the office recharged and ready to work more effectively.
- Seventy-seventy percent of HR pros believe employees who use most or all of their vacation days are more productive than those who don’t.
- Two-thirds of employees say taking time off improves their concentration and productivity.
- Seventy-nine percent of workers feel that taking time off strengthens their bonds with family and friends.
Even the act of anticipating a vacation up to eight weeks before your trip has positive mental health benefits. Not to mention, taking vacation time has shown to correlate with:
- Lower levels of depression
- Lower levels of stress
- Lower blood pressure
- Less weight gain
As we start off the new year, it’s a perfect time to plan those vacation days for 2016. It’s good for your career and health.