According to a recent study about holidays by multinational research firm GfK, work-obsessed American employees didn’t use 705 million of their vacation days in 2017.
While the amount of holiday time used by Americans is crawling its way back from only 16 days in 2014, fear of appearing uncommitted to the job creates stress and reduces efficiency in the workplace.
Many workers also fear that if they use all the holidays they’re entitled to their bosses won’t think they’re worthy of promotion or a pay rise.
More than half of working Americans don’t take their full holidays allowance
Although the picture has improved slightly since 2014, the research shows that 52% of Americans still don’t use all their vacation days. They’re worried that if their employers can continue efficiently while they’re out of town, this will make them appear redundant and expendable.
On the other hand, 59% of workers who do take all their holidays are happier than those that don’t. They also have an 8% better chance at promotion and are 5% more likely to get salary increases.
Taking holidays reduces stress and makes you more valuable, not less
The long-running Framingham Heart Study from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and Boston University found that men who didn’t take holidays for several years were 30 percent more likely to have heart attacks than those who did.
The University of Pittsburgh’s Mind-Body Centre surveyed nearly 1,400 people and discovered that leisure pursuits, which include holidays “…contributed to higher positive emotional levels and less depression, not to mention lower blood pressure and smaller waistlines.”
In Britain, the idea of taking formal holidays began in Tudor times (1485-1603) when everyone took a break for the twelve days of Christmas. No work was allowed by law except taking care of animals. Women weren’t even allowed to use their spinning wheels which were garlanded with flowers while family and friends gathered together to relax and play games.
Take a break and boost the economy
Until the 19th century, going away on holiday was something only rich people could enjoy. Improvements to working conditions during this period gradually increased workers’ disposable income and they began to follow the wealthier classes to seaside resorts.
In 1871, the passing of the Bank Holiday Act granted several days of paid holiday to all workers and, from then on, the economies of Britain’s coastal towns boomed.
So you see, not only is taking a holiday good for your physical and mental well-being, it’s good for your country’s health too!