It turns out that vacations can be beneficial for more than just suntans and great photo opportunities.
According to the travel company Expedia, vacations are pivotal for corporate wellness and employee productivity.
Why? Harris Interactive reports that a full 60% of employed Americans don’t believe they have the appropriate work-life balance needed to take care of their diet and their overall wellbeing. Not only that, but common sense tells us that repeatedly working long hours without taking a break to refresh and relax can negatively impact a worker’s health and cause tension within their families.
In fact, a nine-year study published in Psychosomatic Medicine shows that consistently going without a vacation can actually contribute to the development of heart disease. The study reports that men who opted out of vacations for multiple years at a time were 30% more likely to suffer from a heart attack compared to those who traveled once a year. Additionally, women who took vacations once every six years on average were eight times more likely to develop coronary heart disease or have a heart attack than employees who vacationed twice a year.
While not every job comes with paid vacation days, the problem isn’t the fact that Americans don’t have vacation time to take. According to Expedia’s 2015 Vacation Deprivation Study, U.S. employees leave four vacation days unused every year. This amounts to 500 million days that are just wasted.
There are many different reasons Americans might choose not to go on vacation, but the cost of the trip seems to be the biggest culprit. Workplace experts also point to the fact that Americans are born workaholics, and they’re afraid that taking vacations will send the wrong message to their boss.
However, when employers were surveyed, it is quite the opposite. Over 75% of executives believe that vacations are necessary to boost productivity, prevent burnout, and harness creativity.
Fortunately, there are some encouraging signs that Americans are finally taking the vacations they deserve and need. Between 2010 and 2015, vacations to Hawaii increased by 4.3%, and in the years to come these tropical islands may be seeing more tourists than ever. Doctor’s orders, after all.