What’s Stopping Americans from taking vacation?


If the thought of taking vacation gives you anxiety, don’t be alarmed! You’re an average American. Average, as in 55% of Americans that chose to forfeit their vacation days and work more. Queue the birth of the Workplace Martyr. 37% of employees fear they’ll return to a “mountain of work”, another 30% claiming that no one else can do the job. The feeling that it is harder to take time off the higher up you get in a company also featured prominently (28%), followed by the idea that employees want to show complete dedication to their company and job (22%).

forfeit vacation pto epidemicCompared to previous results, the challenges facing American workers have lessened—albeit only slightly. The numbers are moving in the right direction, but there is still vast improvement that needs to be made before proclaiming the beginning of a cultural shift in the workplace.

Real workplace change depends on America’s managers. To workers, the boss is the most powerful influencer when it comes to taking time off, even slightly more influential than the employee’s family (24% put the boss as number one, 23% said family). In fact, 80 percent of employees said if they felt fully supported and encouraged by their boss, they would be likely to take more time off.

Unfortunately, employees are not feeling that support. Nearly six in ten (58%) employees report a lack of support from their boss and, perhaps more surprisingly, more than half (53%) sense a lack of support from their colleagues. There is a direct correlation between employees who feel strong support from their bosses and colleagues and employee engagement. The more support an employee feels, the more likely they are to report higher levels of happiness.

Employees may not sense support because their work environments do not provide any direction about vacation. Silence in the workplace remains a major issue, with nearly two-thirds (65%) of employees reporting that they hear nothing, mixed messages, or discouraging messages about taking time off. 

Without context and conversation around vacation, employees are plagued with uncertainty—not only for those unsure if they should take time off, but even for those who do. With our program, your company will be able to create the proper dialogue with your employees. Most importantly, we’ll educate your team on the importance of taking time away, not only from work stress, from home stress.