Working remotely and work-from-home flexibility have made it more difficult to unplug from work while on vacation, according to Expedia’s 22nd annual Vacation Deprivation survey. The Vacation Deprivation study included 14,544 participants from 16 countries across North and South America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. Northstar Research Partners received responses on behalf of Expedia from December 14 to December 30, 2021, using an aggregated set of best-in-class panels.
While the majority were able to take advantage of the new working environment by travelling more, the survey also revealed that 61% of those who took at least one workcation in the previous year do not consider them “true” vacations, and a staggering 72% are more burned out than ever. Workers in the United States took the fewest vacation days overall. Moreover, despite being one of the countries with the fewest vacation days, over a third of Americans left vacations days on the table.
The Vacation Deprivation research has been studying people’s work-life balance for over 20 years (22 years to be exact) and, more significantly, how to overcome the hurdles that prevent vacation days from being used. While the boundary between on-the-clock and off-the-clock time felt blurry last year, people are mobilising throughout the world to change that this year.
Gender, age, and occupation may all play a role in vacation deprivation: Women were somewhat more vacation deprived and burned out than males when comparing men and women. Gen Z and Millennials, for example, were much more vacation-deprived and burned out than those aged 50 and over. What about individuals who do not always have the luxury of choice? First responders, unsurprisingly, were at the top of the list for both vacation deprivation and burnout, followed by frontline workers.
Vacations boost mental health with 88% of people in the United States saying they felt more relaxed, less tense, and worried after a vacation, and the same number said they felt more cheerful and positive.
So, what does all of this mean in terms of 2022? People are more than eager to prioritise the things that matter (hint: it is not work!) by granting themselves PTO. In fact, in 2022, Americans pledged to take two full weeks of vacation, about three weeks more than they did in 2021. They are also more inclined to splurge on their next holiday, take longer vacations, and even arrange backup vacations to ensure that their vacation happens regardless of what happens. Almost everyone agrees that taking regular holidays is beneficial to one’s overall health and well-being, and they cherish vacation time more than ever before.