No vacation

Thirty-eight percent of U.S. workers have not taken a vacation during the past 12 months according to a new nationwide survey of U.S. employees from Eagle Hill Consulting. The research also finds nearly half of American workers (46 percent) say the expense of taking a vacation is the biggest impediment to taking time off.

These findings come as employee burnout remains alarmingly high across the U.S. workforce. About half (45 percent) of American employees say that they are feeling burnout at work, higher among younger workers aged 18 to 34 (52 percent) and women (48 percent).   

"It's not just employees who benefit from taking time away from work. Employers also benefit. When employees have space away from their job, they often return more energized and focused. Ultimately, that benefits their employer and customers," says Melissa Jezior, president and chief executive officer of Eagle Hill Consulting.

"The holidays can be stressful for employees, and we know that nearly half the workforce already is experiencing burnout. A gift leaders can give is to encourage time off and set the example by taking time away themselves to fully unplug. Of course, some industries like restaurants and retail just can't take time off during the holiday season, but they can encourage breaks before or after their peak seasons. Establishing a 'take a break' culture fosters an engaged and healthy workforce while also lowering attrition," Jezior explained.    

The survey also finds:

• Thirty-eight percent of workers have not taken time off in the last 12 months, highest among and lower income employees (59 percent), GenZ workers (46 percent), and workers without a college degree (46 percent)

• Workers say the impediments to taking a fully unplugged vacation include the expense of taking a vacation (46 percent), self-imposed pressure to stay on top of work (30 percent), a heavy workload (27 percent), no colleagues available to cover their workload (26 percent), and no paid time off (25 percent).

• Many employees are not fully unplugging during time off. While about half (56 percent) say they fully disconnect from work during vacation, 25 percent say they check work email and messages.

These findings are from the 2023 Eagle Hill Consulting Workforce Burnout Survey conducted by Ipsos from Aug. 3-8, 2023. The survey included 1,347 respondents from a random sample of employees across the U.S.