Americans work more hours annually than people nearly anywhere in the world for one reason–they take fewer vacations. If you think this is good for business, think again. Research suggests that vacations improve productivity.
One 2016 study for the Institute for Labor Studies found that on average Europeans worked 19% fewer hours than their U.S. workers. It’s not that Europeans work fewer hours each week but simply that they take more vacation days that their U.S. counterparts.
Unlike other developed countries, the United States doesn’t mandate statuary paid leave days. Over the course of the year, this has a huge impact on the number of hours U.S. versus European workers spend on the job (e.g., in France, employers must offer 30 paid leave days and cover on paid holiday whereas in the United States, employers aren’t obliged to provide paid leave days at all). Worse yet, when U.S. workers are offered paid leave, they are far less likely to take it.
On the surface, the American work ethic should be great for business, but this isn’t necessarily the case. A growing body of evidence suggests that not taking time off is damaging to employees and organizations. It may even make U.S. organizations less productive and competitive in a global market.
Vacations Improve Productivity and More
Vacation time has been found to:
- Increase productivity
- Increase workplace engagement
- Promote creativity
- Support mental health
- Support physical health
- Increase job satisfaction
- Reduce burnout on the job
Keep reading to learn more about the psychology of space.