A 2011 Expedia survey about time off from work concluded that Americans are “vacation deprived.” Here are the results, comparing vacation time given and taken among various countries:
Vacation deprived indeed! In half of the countries surveyed, the average worker received more than twice the number of days off than we do in America. In a Time article about European vacation policy, economist John Schmitt said, “The U.S. is the only [industrialized] country in the world that does not have statutory requirements on employers to provide paid holiday, paid parental leave or paid sick days. We are enormous outliers.”
But before we shake our fists at our national lot, we have to own up to the fact that even with our paltry supply of vacation, last year on average we left two days of vacation unused. Sixteen hours when we could have been at the beach, in the mountains, or under a blanket, we chose the office instead.
“Vacation deprivation” isn’t just a fabricated condition to help Expedia sell more plane tickets. Vacation is linked to improved relationships with coworkers and enhanced quality of work. It grants us perspective and motivation to achieve our goals. And it may even make us live longer.
So why is it so hard for us to take a break?
(Image by Flickr user Via Tsuji/via Creative Commons)