June 25, 2014 — Summer is here and itâs high season for employee vacations. But, according to the Virgin Pulse survey "A Little Time Away: How Relaxing & Recharging Drives Productivity," only 44% of respondents say they take 76% to 100% of their allotted PTO each year, while 34% report taking 50% or less of their PTO. Even if they take their PTO, 41% say they feel "guilty" or "stressed" about taking time off. The good news is that more than 62% say they feel at least "pretty good" about taking time off of work.
"Not only are stress and burnout impacting people's health, but they're taking a terrible toll on businesses," said Chris Boyce, CEO of Virgin Pulse. "Stressed-out employees cost companies $600 more than average in health care each year, adding up to over $300 billion annually."
Despite the 32% that say they have to put in extra time at work before a vacation, many employees report that they are still working while on vacation, and the majority feel obligated to do so. Just 48% of those surveyed say their company expects them to be totally unavailable while on vacation. In addition:
Survey respondents noted that relaxation was the most important aspect of a good vacation. 58% said they typically vacation somewhere where they can relax; the "staycation" is particularly popular, with 44% of respondents preferring to relax at home rather than go away.
Relaxation isn't always immediate â 46% say it takes two to three days to begin to unwind on a vacation and 29% saying it takes four or more days, or that they donât really manage to unwind at all.
Focusing on themselves and their well-being is a top priority for vacationers. Respondents stated that on vacation:
Most employees experience positive benefits from taking vacation time:
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