Survey: It Takes Americans 4 Days To Stop Thinking About Work While On Vacation

NEW YORK — Taking off for the holidays? Hopefully your winter vacation will give you enough time to unwind and breathe easy. A new survey finds that it takes about four days on average for Americans to completely relax and unload the stress and worries from work while on vacation.

The study, commissioned by Apple Vacations, polled 2,000 workers and sought to identify how employees “switch off” from work when taking time off. They found that this four-day average means that for a week-long vacation, workers spend just 43 percent of their time without the drudgery of work and family lingering in the back of their minds.

Eight in ten surveyed found they struggle to get away from the office for vacations at all, leaving part of their yearly vacation time unused. Another 37 percent admitted they feel guilty about leaving unfinished work at the office. In fact, that guilt was the leading cause of respondents not taking vacations.

Some even felt that taking time off was damaging to their career. About a quarter of those surveyed (26 percent) thought that taking a vacation will prevent them from getting a promotion. These factors leave 15 percent of Americans feeling guilty and stressed when they finally get a chance to plan a vacation for themselves.

This phenomenon seems to affect American workers of different ages differently as well. Nearly half of millennial workers (47 percent) feel guilty for taking vacation, compared to just 19 percent of those aged 55 or older.

“Fully disconnecting while on vacation has become more difficult with the prevalence of full-coverage Wi-Fi at many of our top-rated resorts. For some, checking in periodically to ensure things are running smoothly in their absence may actually aid in relaxation,” says Sandy Babin, Vice President of Marketing for Apple Vacations, in a statement.
Checking in periodically may be the necessary evil for those who can’t take their minds off of their work, especially for the 43 percent of respondents who say it’s simply too hard to not reach out to the office when away.
The study also revealed that American workers frequently check their work emails and social media accounts obsessively while on vacation. The average person looks at his or her emails, Facebook, and Instagram account nine times a day.
“The need for rejuvenation is one of the primary reasons we travel. Thoughts of the office, or guilt stemming from work left unfinished, may make it difficult for vacationers to fully relax, whereas those who are able to completely shut off tend to come back fully refreshed and all the better for it,” says Babin.
The survey, carried out by OnePoll, included adults who have traveled to at least one state in the past year and was conducted between September 27 and October 10, 2018.