The Numbers Don’t Lie: We Need More Breaks, More Vacation Here In The US
Just did a little top-line scan of some work/vacation-related stats. And, at least here in the United States, the numbers are not looking too good. You really want to dig in, take a peek at what Joe Robinson, an AWSC contributor and author of “Work To Live” (and others) has to say.
But here were the ones that really stood out (and please note that some of this data is a little old but, my guess is, that there isn’t that much variation):
- 66% of US employees don’t use all of their paid vacation days
- 20% of employees in a survey cancelled their vacations due to their job
- In the US, according to research, almost 90% of men and over 66% of women work more than 40 hours per week
- We’re not as productive as other countries that take long (and oftentimes mandated) vacation time
- Men are 32% more likely to have heart attacks and women are 50% more likely without a vacation
As an American, I have long-salivated over vacation time afforded global colleagues. You’re going where for 6 weeks — and you’re getting paid?
This, from a 2009 Expedia study with data from BusinessWeek:
- Sweden: 36 days of vacation and 4th on the Global Competitiveness scale
- Finland: 40 days of vacation, 6th on the Global Competitiveness scale
- France: 40 days and 98.2% as effective as the US interms of GDP hours worked
There is plenty more data to pore over and, again, this is just a very limited view of what really is a problem. Yes, we’re a competitive nation. Yes, we work hard.
But we’ve forgotten, in many ways, to recharge our batteries the right way by fully unplugging. And we’re exhausted because of it.
I’m fully in this boat so I have absolutely no room to talk, by the way.
Two weeks ago, I snuck away to check work things while on a family vacation. I had my phone on. I checked and responded to emails.
And I was also told to not worry about things while I was gone. In fact, I was forbidden to be on any calls or anything work-related so that I could actually take the break.
That’s a damn good boss, and yet I still went to the digital work well.
We’re fried. And fried doesn’t result in greater productivity. It results in mistakes — and not the “good” kind.
Fortunately, it was much better than I have been in the past. But, learning the fine (and important) art of really getting away, is something that most people in this country, yours truly included, doesn’t really have a firm grasp on quite yet.
Though there is good news.
I experienced something akin to a nice, long break for three weeks in New Zealand in 2007/2008. It was the best. I came back completely refreshed and ready to get at it. It felt like a real vacation.
Because it was.
And I think we’d all like a litte more of that.
So tell us, do you take your breaks? Do you use all of your vacation? Do you recharge the right way?
- by AWSC
- posted at 10:23 am
- August 1, 2012