Vacation time is an important aspect of overall wellness, allowing people to take a break from the daily grind and recharge. However, in recent years, Americans have been taking fewer and fewer week-long vacations. Why? They're opting to take fewer days more frequently.
Why are Americans taking less time off?
Vacation days are an essential component of any employee benefits package. They provide much-needed time off to rest, recharge, and reset, but the amount of time being taken is slowly shrinking. The vacation rate has fallen steadily from 3.3% of the workforce in a given week in 1980, to 1.7% today. Yikes.
Many Americans feel that they cannot take time off from work. In a culture where overworking and being constantly available is often seen as a badge of honor, many people feel guilty or anxious about taking time off. This can lead to people not taking the time they need to relax and recharge. Also, many Americans feel that they simply do not have the time to take a week-long vacation. With busy work schedules and other commitments, many struggle to find a full week to take off work and travel.
Is this the trend for the future?
Americans are opting to take shorter absences from work, usually taking a day here and there for extended weekend trips, midweek errands, or mental health days. You may find that taking a shorter vacation works better with your schedule. Due to the rising cost of inflation, taking a week-long vacation may not be something that can fit into your budget at the moment. Elizabeth Yost of the University of Central Florida stated, "Individuals would weigh the cost/benefit of taking all of that time off at once. And they found that there was more of a benefit personally and professionally to take shorter vacations that were purposeful."
It could be that Americans are reluctant to use up all of their PTO because they feel they have to save it for personal days or for vacations. The frequency of PTO has risen steadily and according to the society of Human Resource Management, 67% percent of employers offered such plans, which is up from 36% in 1995.
The future of Americans taking week-long vacations is slowly dwindling, yet maybe the future really is taking short midweek vacations to run errands or use as a mental health day. The way you decide to plan your vacation is based on what type of PTO plan your employer offers, but making sure that you truly relax so that you can return to work refreshed is key.