Survey: 52% of workers didn’t use all their vacation days in 2017

While previous research has found that 41% of Americans feel “shamed” for taking a vacation, new data from Project: Time Off found that 52% of American workers didn’t use all their vacation days to travel to cities like Dallas in 2017.

But how does this compare to other years? While there haven’t been any drastic differences over the past few years, this number was 54% back in 2016 and 55% back in 2015. Employees use an average of 17.2 days nationally — 0.4 days more than the year before and the third consecutive year the number has risen.

Here are some of the other points that stood out from the research.

Why Americans don’t take their paid time off

For respondents who said their main concern was that they “fear looking replaceable” by their manager or account director which was the most popular choice, 61% don’t use up all their days.

Fifty-six percent of those who say that “my workload is too heavy” and that there’s a “lack of coverage at work” each fails to use all of their days off, respectively. Fifty-four percent of those who chose “my pet,” “the logistical hassles of traveling,” and “concerns about security and safety when traveling” don’t use all of their time off, respectively. This may even happen at companies like Facebook that provide pet support or in industries like finance where vacation is mandatory.

Project: Time Off vice president and report author Katie Denis commented on the research:

“While Americans are now using more vacation time, the benefits aren’t being fully realized because most workers are using less than half of their time off for travel…Simple and avoidable barriers to travel end up costing American workers in the long term. When we forego travel, we miss out on defining moments, experiences and memories, and end up costing our economy, too.”

But the positive feelings associated with planning a trip could be another incentive to get out of the office —  the research found that 56% of planners were happy about their jobs, compared to 48% of non-planners. While 57% of planners said they liked their company, 50% of non-planners said they did. But when it came to “personal relationships,” 81% of planners were happy with them, versus 68% of non-planners.

It is important for companies to provide vacation days to their employees. BAE Systems, an aerospace and defense company, typically gives 20 to 30 days of paid time off per year. Employees at BAE Systems report that paid time off is the second most important benefit besides healthcare, with 30% of employees saying it is the most important benefit.

Who likes “workcations,” or traveling to work in another place

Just 10% of respondents say they’ve gone on a “workcation,” which the research defines as “a proactive decision to travel somewhere with the intent to work a regular schedule remotely.”

In terms of generations, 39% of millennials say they’re “interested” in this concept, versus 28% of those in Generation X and 18% of Baby Boomers.

But overall, a whopping 70% of those surveyed aren’t “workcation” fans, while 29% are in favor of the concept.

Why people actually do travel

The research found that 85% like to witness their child’s excitement about travel, 82% do it for stress relief and 81% do it “to make memories,” among many other points.

“To Cross Off an Item on Your Bucket List” was on the opposite end of the spectrum at just 35%.

Still, it’s important to note that 24% of Americans say they haven’t gone on “vacation in more than a year.” That is definitely an human resources violation.