NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Three-quarters of Americans in a 1,300-person survey by the U.S. Travel Association said they were stressed out at work, and 25% said they were either "very" or "extremely" anxious in the workplace.
So you'd think Americans would be using their vacation days eagerly.
But think again. The U.S.T.A. says 40% of American workers don't plan to take all their vacation days this year — amounting to 429 million unused days.
And that's with workers really seeming to need some time away from the office. "Many workers leave their paid time off unused despite near-universal recognition of the importance and benefits of using PTO, from reducing stress to improving productivity when we return to work," the organization says.
When asked why they were so reluctant to take time off, workers were fairly clear on the topic. In addition to the 33% who said they don't take their days because they can't afford to travel:
- 40% cite a heavy workload awaiting their return as the top challenge in taking time off.
- 35% won't use their time off because they believe "nobody else can do the work while I'm away" ...
- ... and 22% didn't want others to see them as "replaceable."
- 28% don't use all their time off because they want to show complete dedication to the company and their job.
- 33% say they simply "cannot afford" to take PTO.
Management isn't helping much.
The survey reports employers are well aware workers are bypassing vacation days, but they don't seem to care. About 65% of workers surveyed say they hear "nothing, negative or mixed messages from their employers about using PTO," according to the U.S.T.A.
Cheryl Rosner, former president of Expedia and Hotels.com and now chief executive at Stayful, an online travel site specializing in boutique hotels, offers these tips on escaping the workplace with little or no downside:
- Take those days and use them for "creative play." "Experience unique local activities you never find time to do," Rosner says. "That allows some time away from the workplace at a reasonable price and offers you a chance to stay close to home but be away from work."
- Take those days and save them for the most important people in your life. "Use them to stay home with family and save on day care," Rosner says.
- Take a "give-back" vacation. Give-back vacations range from adventures such as exploratory trips at Wildland.com to altruistic travel experiences such as Wilderness Volunteers or Conservation Trips, Rosner says. "It helps to give back, and the world is helped when you go," she says.
The main point is: Don't worry about being missed or overburdened if you take some vacation days. You need them; your employer needs you to take some time off, and there's plenty of scientific data that backs up the notion that you need time off.
— By Brian O'Connell for MainStreet
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Join date : 2011-08-09
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