WGR Blog July


With the announcement yesterday that the Senate will be working through part of August recess this year – many of our summer plans may have changed. But in truth, does D.C. ever stop? How many of us actually unplug when we are on vacation? We set an out of office with the best of intentions, but then feel the need to respond when we see an email come through. We are constantly on the go, accruing vacation time we may never use.

In a study done by the U.S. Travel Association’s “Project Time Off,” 54 percent of employees end the year with unused vacation time, a total of 662 million vacation days – lost. Why do we not take the time to unplug even after we read countless studies about the importance of taking a vacation? According to the same study, 82 percent of managers agree that vacation improves health and well-being, 82 percent say it boosts moral, and 81 percent say it mitigates burnout. There is a disconnect between how companies perceive vacation and how employees view vacation time. According to a study done by Expedia titled “Vacation Deprivation;”

  • Nine percent of Americans said they worried that taking vacation time "will be perceived negatively" by their employer.
  • Roughly 14 percent of Americans reported feeling high levels of guilt, with six percent of Americans claiming to feel so guilty that they take no time off.
  • 29 percent of Americans reported that they typically go one year or longer between vacations.
  • 22 percent of U.S. employees feel they should wait a year or more into a new job before taking a day off.

Year after year America is categorized as the working population that does not utilize vacation. According to “Vacation Deprivation,” the U.S. offers on average 15 vacation days -- which is low compared to other industrialized countries, and even worse when you consider that most people only take 12 of those 15 days.

Everyone needs time to recharge their batteries or just get away from the office. Let’s be honest: we will continue to check our email and respond when necessary. In fact, in the Expediastudy, only 34 percent of American workers claimed to “never” check email on vacation. But that is not the point. The point is to unplug and relax. Remember, this is time you earned.

Don’t let one of your benefits go to waste this summer.  Take a vacation!

Alyssa Aalmo works for Leidos and is a member of Women in Government Relations.