Are You Suffering From Vacation Deprivation?

19 June 2023 | 15 Shares

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If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, exhausted despite getting adequate sleep or just generally unmotivated, it could be because you’re not spending enough time away from your desk.

According to Expedia’s 2023 Vacation Deprivation report, which surveyed 14,500 people across 16 countries, 63% of US working adults say they are vacation deprived, up from 59% last year.

Globally, vacation deprivation levels are the highest they’ve been in a decade with Americans receiving and taking the fewest number of vacation days annually compared to the rest of the world.

Not only are US workers leaving allocated days on the table, many reported using precious vacation time for personal appointments, sick days, home improvement projects and taking care of children.

While some workers believe forfeiting vacation days makes them appear more dedicated to their jobs, or may be in line with a “workaholic” culture coming from leadership, it can actually have the opposite effect on performance.

According to a 2013 survey by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), employees who take most or all of their vacation days will be more productive, and will stay in the company longer.

Not taking enough respite from work can have many negative health effects, including an increased risk of stress and burnout. A 2021 study by the World Health Organization (WHO) and International Labor Organization (ILO) reported regularly working long hours (over 55 per week) attributed to an estimated 745,195 deaths from stroke and heart disease worldwide.

Here are five practical tips that can help you avoid vacation deprivation:

1.  Know exactly how many vacation days you’re entitled to

Your employer will have a policy on who is eligible for paid time off, and for how many days (you may have accrued more over time). Refer to your employee handbook or reach out to HR if you’re unsure of your current allowance. It’s also often possible to negotiate more days during a job offer or promotion process.

2.  Plan ahead to secure the days you really need

Visiting family out of state in August? Celebrating a milestone birthday in April? Your vacation request may be denied if another member of your team is already going to be away that week. Always submit your request early, and in writing, to avoid disappointment.

3.  Use holidays to maximize vacation time

If your paid time off is limited, or if you’re a new employee, you can maximize your allocated days by piggybacking on holidays. So for Labor Day, take Tuesday off, and you can benefit from a four-day weekend using just one vacation day, and go back to a significantly shorter work week.


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4.  Challenge the culture

If your company has an “always on” culture where employees don’t feel comfortable taking vacation days, or are expected to be contactable even when they’re away, understand that that’s a “them” problem, not a “you”  problem. Taking time off you’re entitled to is nothing to feel guilty about. A relaxed and refreshed employee is more valuable than a stressed and frazzled one, whether they know it or not.

5.  Expand your horizons

If you’re not happy with your company’s vacation policy or attitude to time off, maybe it’s time to look for a new company? Below are three roles within organizations that know the value of a good vacation, with plenty more exciting positions available on the Tech HQ Job Board.


Netflix believes in benefits that enhance productivity through the lens of inclusion, which includes taking vacation days whenever your mind and body need a break. It is currently recruiting a Software Engineer (L4), Data Platform APIs in Los Gatos, California to contribute to the evolution and innovation of their data analytics tools. The right candidate will be strongly interested in data analytics and be an expert in Python with three or more years’ of experience building APIs / SDKs and large-scale distributed systems features or applications.


As well as 21 paid vacation days for employees working a 40-hour week, Meta offers up to 20 days of emergency time off. It is looking for a Software Engineer, Infrastructure to join the team in San Francisco. Responsibilities include designing core, backend and software components, code using primarily C/C++, Java, PHP and Hack and conducting design and code reviews.

Electronic Arts

Most locations of EA close down for a week a year so employees can fully relax and recharge, and it offers three weeks paid time off per year too. In Austin, it’s looking for a Senior Experience Designer to lead multiple projects, create and test designs from low to high fidelity, and bring creative innovation to solve both internal and external customer needs. Important to note: this is a remote-friendly role.

For more great opportunities within companies with excellent benefits and vacation policies, visit the Tech HQ Job Board