Summer is here, AKA the time of year to get out of the office. (Yippee!) After all, you don’t want to get to December with unused days like last year, right? Vacation time exists for a reason—and not fully embracing it can lead to serious burnout.
But if you haven’t put in all your requests yet, you’re not alone. According to Glassdoor, the average American worker takes only half (!) the days that he or she has earned. And even when you’re using that sweet, sweet PTO, most of you aren’t actually unplugging while you’re kicking it cabin-porn style, lounging at the beach, or even jetting off to a wellness retreat.
The worst part? The number of people who admit to working on vacations is going up—from 61 percent to 66 percent in the past three years.
“Millennial women tend to have more pronounced guilt and feel they don’t want to burden people with their time away.”
Plus, a separate survey conducted by Project: Time Off found that men were taking more vacation time than women. Despite the fact that more women in the survey ranked vacation as “extremely” important to them, only 44 percent of millennial women used up all of their days in 2016, compared to 51 percent of men in the same age group.
“Millennial women tend to have more pronounced guilt and feel they don’t want to burden people with their time away,” said Katie Denis, the lead researcher for Project: Time Off. “They’re more likely to identify with that ‘work martyr’ brand of thinking.”
Whether the pressure is internal or external, it’s definitely there, and most people feel they can’t truly disconnect. (After all, 29 percent of survey respondents said they’d been contacted by a coworker while on vacation, and 25 percent said they’d been contacted by their boss.)
Tempted by the your hotel’s wifi connection? Resist the urge! “While taking a vacation may make employees temporarily feel behind, they should realize that stepping away from work and fully disconnecting carries a ripple effect of benefits,” says Carmel Galvin, Glassdoor’s chief human resources officer.
“It allows employees to return to work feeling more productive, creative, recharged, and reenergized. In turn, employers should consider what a vacation really means—to actually vacate work—and how they can support employees to find true rest and relaxation to avoid burnout and turnover within their organizations,” he says.
So get that OOO message response cued up, and start scheduling your next getaway. There’s a whole world out there, from this royal (in-law)-approved, remote island to these epic wellness retreats. (If you need more inspo, bookmark our new Good Travel section.) And if you just can’t decide where to go? As with every other important question in life: Check your horoscope.
When you do hit the road, here are the 7 rules every healthy traveler should follow and Gwyneth Paltrow’s in-flight essentials for looking and feeling fab.