- Expedia's annual Vacation Deprivation study® shows that 58% of workers globally describe themselves as holiday deprived
- In the UK, 73% of millennials and Gen-Z (aged 18 - 34) believe they deserve more holiday days
- A quarter of Brits (25%) would even give up sex for an extra day of annual leave
- Highlighting a positive attitude to work/life balance compared to the world, Brits are least expected to work when on holiday
- Still, only 18% of workers in the UK feel their employer is supportive of "mental health days"
Expedia.com® releases findings from its annual Vacation Deprivation® Study which examines attitudes and trends around annual leave, across 19 countries. The report found that even though travel is at our fingertips, shockingly global vacation deprivation is on the rise. On average, the UK only uses 23.6 days of the allocated 26.2 allowance and as a result, employees are losing over two full days of paid leave each - this equates to 84,214,0001 unused paid leave days.
To see why this is, the Vacation Deprivation report digs deeper to find that it's clear that younger generations are feeling the effects of holiday deprivation, with 63% of 18-34-year olds in the UK believing they are holiday deprived and 62% suggesting up to 10 days additional leave is deserved. Furthermore, workers in the UK are not acting to improve their wellbeing through utilising their annual allowance, perhaps down to perceptions in the workplace. While errands and life admin tasks are important, it's noticeable that Brits could address how they take time off work, as the effects on productivity, confidence and emotional connections are significant when switching off properly.
Taking a mental break – is your boss supportive?
On average, "mental health days" are a common occurrence around the world, with over half (54%) of workers taking at least one last year, whether as part of their annual leave or as a sick day. Of this, a huge 13% have taken five or more days to solely look after their wellbeing.
However, it's clear that there are differing opinions about using a day off to focus on improving wellness. Almost all British workers (93%) agree that regular holidays are important for general health and well-being, however taking a focussed "mental health day" (whether from holiday allowance or as a sick day) is apparently not common.
In fact, a large 69% of British workers have not taken any mental health days in the past year. This may be down to the fact that only 18% of Brits think that their employer is supportive of workers taking off days dedicated to improving mental wellbeing.
That said, while the British don't tend to take mental health days, they do use annual leave to take care of errands that perhaps hang over their heads and cause stress. Nearly half (49%) of Brit's take between one to four days off to take care of jobs such as scheduling appointments, catching up on bills, and taking care of general life admin, instead of going on trips and learning to switch off completely. An additional 13% take five or more days off to handle errands, showing that for some Brits "life maintenance" is not an easy task!
The fear of switching off – is it all in your mind?
Luckily, it takes workers from the UK no time at all to switch off, with 30% stating that they feel less anxious and stressed "right away" when taking time off. Although perhaps younger generations find it harder to turn off phones, emails or social media accounts, it's apparent that on average Brits can in fact unplug when necessary. When asked how many times workers in the UK check their email or voicemail when on a week-long holiday, 71% checked less than three times. In fact, 51% state they never checked their email during a week-long break. When compared to other countries, the United Kingdom is flying the flag for switching off, as nearly half (47%) of Taiwanese workers check their work email or voicemail at least once a day when away.
Praise goes to British workplaces too, as workers in the UK are most likely to fully respect their co-workers time off, whereas employees from India or South Korea are least likely to expect this while away. Providing an opportunity to truly relax, the findings show that most workers from the UK (51%) are likely to completely disengage and leave work behind them when away.
Showing the real effect of holidays, after returning from days off a great 86% of workers in the UK feel they have a more positive attitude after taking time off work, 85% feel more focussed and 85% feel more productive. This isn't to mention the affect that holidays have on relationships…
Rekindling the magic – can a holiday make or break your relationship?
Although a quarter (25%) of workers in the UK said that they would give up sex for an extra day of holiday, going away and spending quality time together is still a large part of their travel.
From relaxing on a beach to exploring new cities together, 72% of Brits agree that a holiday rekindles relationships. Nine-in-ten (90%) of British workers believe that going away gives them a chance to hit the "reset button" on their stress and anxiety, so it's clear that most believe that regular holidays strengthen relationships both at home and in work.
Nisreene Atassi, Global Head of Communications for Brand Expedia comments: "These findings show that while global vacation deprivation is on the rise, the British workforce can disconnect and switch off when given the opportunity. To make the most of this, opting for a wellness related trip during a long weekend may be a good idea for those spare days of leave. As well as using holiday to run important errands, it's key to take a day or two to recharge, slow down and enjoy a change of scenery. Even a short and affordable staycation can have a profoundly positive effect on the quality of life, from personal relationships to increased enjoyment at work."