Why It’s Important to Take All of Your Vacation Days This Year

Have you ever heard of the phrase “vacation deprivation” before? According to a recent survey from Expedia, Americans are leading the pack by taking fewer vacation days than the majority of workers in most countries. The primary reason is because Americans are allotted fewer vacation days than other countries, and they also – gasp! – leave an average of two days unused per year.

Vacation Days in the US versus the Rest of the World

In the US, it is expected that you will be awarded close to 10 vacation days as a benefit in your full-time job. Yet compared to the rest of the world, the US workforce may be overworked and underappreciated. And we appear to be contributing to the problem.

Countries with the most vacation days earned (at close to 30 days) include:

  • Germany
  • France
  • Spain
  • Brazil

Other contenders with well over 20 vacation days earned per year include Italy, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. The only countries lower on the totem pole than the US in terms of vacation days are South Korea and Taiwan.

Some European countries don’t leave any vacation days unused, making a break from work a top priority for the purpose of balance and mental refreshment. These countries include the UK, Spain, France, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.

So what can we learn from our global friends that value vacation far more than the American culture?

The Benefits of Taking Vacation Each Year

While your annual vacation may be something that you look forward to all year long as the opportunity to sit back, sip on a beer, and relax on the beach, taking allotted vacation time can benefit an employer as much as an employee.

In a 2010 survey from Right Management, it revealed that 66% of employees did not use all of their allotted paid vacation within the past year. This included all levels of staff, as well as upper management. Many employees felt that they should skip out on a much-needed vacation because of the state of the economy and competitive conditions on-the-job.

However, skipping vacation altogether is counterproductive. It can quickly lead to employee burnout to affect the overall productivity of a company.

If that’s not reason enough to convince you to go on vacation, here are several other benefits to consider of taking time off from the daily grind:

  • Improve mental health.
  • Reinforce relationships.
  • Lengthen your lifespan.
  • Boost creativity.
  • Increase productivity.
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