When’s the last time you took a day off? Or actually went on vacation? If you can’t remember when, you are not alone. Almost half of American workers are too scared or too loaded down with work to take their paid time off. According to a new study by the U.S. Travel Association and market research firm GfK, about 40 percent of Americans don’t plan on using all of their paid time off this year. The survey polled 1,303 workers.
The number one reason people are skipping their vacations is because they don’t want to return to the office to face a pile of work. The researchers dub this a “martyr” complex, believing that they’re the only ones who can complete the work, reports The Huffington Post. And more than 20 percent of workers said one of the main reasons they don’t take all of their vacation time is because they don’t want to seem replaceable.
Besides workers’ hesitancy to take a vacation, bosses bear some blame. Two-thirds of employees said their company doesn’t encourage vacation and many bosses actually discourage employees from using paid time off. Those in charge may take time off but nearly half of bosses surveyed said they respond to emails during time off, and almost 30 percent said they take calls during vacation. This of course, sends a message to employees that there is no free time really.
More Americans than ever are forgoing their time off. According to a recent Vox analysis, in the 1970s about 80 percent of workers took a weeklong vacation annually. Now, just a little more than half of workers do so. Not taking time off can negatively affect your health. According to some studies, taking fewer vacations is linked to increased risk of heart disease in men and women. Leaving work behind for a few days can be of benefit in more ways than one. When workers take vacations they are more productive upon their return (even if the break is short).