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Many of us have been working from home for the last two years and, admittedly, it’s harder to switch off than if you were clocking in and out of the office. I’m guilty of it, and I am sure many other people are too: it’s the evening, you’ve worked all day, but there goes the Slack notification bell or a ding to let you know you’ve got a new email. It’s tempting to check, so you just have a quick peek… next thing, it’s 11 p.m. and you’re still sat at your makeshift home office unable to switch off. That’s why it’s important to take a vacation every once in a while but, according to a new study by Expedia, many Americans are finding it hard to take a break from work, even when they’re vacationing.
In its annual Vacation Deprivation study, Expedia has found that flexible working and added pressures has meant more than half of Americans are finding it difficult to unplug, while over 70 percent of U.S. residents are experiencing burnout.
“Despite the nearly universal belief that regular vacations are critical to our health and wellbeing, the research shows we struggle to fully unplug from work,” said Christie Hudson, Senior PR manager for Expedia, in a press release announcing the results. “Instead, we try and do it all, checking email from the pool and taking work calls while out of office. This study is a reminder that vacations should be a time to rest, recharge and prioritize the things that really matter. After all, work can wait.”
The results showed that boundary setting has become an issue, with 63 percent of Americans saying that they include their cell phone number in their out-of-office reply for their co-workers or clients, inviting interruptions during valuable time off. Additionally, half of Americans bring along their work laptops and 41 percent said that they frequently join Zoom calls while OOO.
While 14 percent of companies had implemented a new policy that allows employees to take unlimited vacation days (14 percent), Americans took the least amount of vacation days globally in 2021. 52 percent of Americans feel guilty having co-workers cover their work and 44 percent feel the need to apologize or make excuses for taking time off.
Despite the guilt (no one should feel guilty for taking a break), 2022 is promising to be the year Americans take back control of how they find joy during vacations and fully committing to taking time off. 44 percent have already booked a trip to look forward to this year, and working adults in the U.S. vowed to take an average of 14 days this year—almost three days more than they took in 2021.
So, in short, take that vacation! You deserve it.