Chronic workplace stress affects over a third of Americans and can literally kill, but a new report from travel giant Expedia shows that American employees aren’t making things easy for themselves: On average, they’re only taking 11 of the 15 paid vacation days allotted to them.
It’s thought that American employees are under too much pressure to dare to take time off. “Some workers also fear that their bosses will disapprove,” says Expedia Vice President John Morrey. “A healthy work-life balance is critical, not only to give workers a chance to enjoy their lives outside of the office, but also to recharge, making you more productive when you get back to work.”
Here’s how America stacks up against other countries:
The irony is that putting pressure on workers to be productive ultimately costs companies more than a handful of paid vacation days in the long run. Studies have shown that workplace anxiety decreases job performance and even physical health, especially when employees are too nervous about job security to call in sick. Mitigating anxiety requires employees to have better social relationships with their bosses — the same kind that would make it easier to ask to take a vacation.
Still, Americans aren’t as vacation-deprived as South Koreans, who use only 6 of their 15 days off and, of all workers surveyed globally, are the most anxious about their vacation time being perceived negatively by their employers.
Europeans on both ends of the corporate spectrum seem to have a lot more chill: E.U. employers offer employees anywhere from 25 to 30 (!!!) vacation days, and workers are a lot less likely to leave any unused.