Fear of ‘looking replaceable’ shrinks employee vacation time — and the economy

Workplace norms prevent many employees from using all of their vacation time -- which costs the economy $255B.

May 8, 2018

A recent study by market research firm GfK shows that workaholic American employees didn’t use 705m of their vacation days last year — collectively leaving $62.2B in benefits on the table.

While the amount of vacation time used by Americans is inching its way back from a rock bottom 16 days in 2014, fear of looking like slackers makes workers more grumpy and less efficient — and also less likely to be promoted or get a raise.

Americans do worse work for longer so it looks like they give a sh*t

Despite this slow increase, 52% of Americans still don’t use all of their vacation — overwhelmingly due to concerns they will “look replaceable.”

Not only are fewer non-vacationers (46%) happy at work than vacationers (59%) — they also don’t do as well, resulting in an 8% lower chance of promotion and 5% lower chance of a raise.

The US hospitality industry needs you to drink a pina colada

But last year, those 705m unused days of vacation bliss (and decreased spending on on tiki-themed drinks) cost the US economy $255B and 1.9m jobs in the tourism and hospitality industry.

So don’t wait — time to head to the beach and drink a Corona in the name of productivity.

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