Flexible work arrangements have you feeling … well, less than flexible? It’s not just you. According to Expedia’s 22nd annual Vacation Deprivation report, nearly half of working adults in Canada agreed that working remotely and work-from-home flexibility has made it more difficult to be unplugged from work when on vacation. Further the majority reported feeling vacation deprived in 2021.
While many were able to take advantage of the new state of the working world by travelling more, the report also found that 80% of those that took at least one workcation in the past year don’t consider them to be “true” vacations and a whopping 71% feel more burned out than ever. Overall, Canadian workers took less vacation than the global average and a third left vacations days on the table.
For over 20 years (22 years and counting to be exact), the Vacation Deprivation study examined the work-life balance of people worldwide and, most importantly, how to overcome the barriers that keep vacation days unused. While the line between time on and off the clock felt thin last year, people are making a global movement to change that as they look forward.
Let’s break down the report further:
- Vacation deprivation might be related to gender, age and occupation: When looking at men versus women, women were slightly more vacation deprived and burned out than men. The younger generations, Gen Z and Millennials were significantly more vacation deprived and burned out than those 50 and older. Now, what about those that don’t always have flexible options? Unsurprisingly, first responders were at the top of the list for both vacation deprivation and burnout.
- Vacations improve mental health: Nine-in-10 people in Canada reported feeling more relaxed and less anxious and worried after a vacation and about the same amount of people reported feeling more optimistic and positive after a vacation.
- Canada’s obsession with productivity might be changing: Nearly half took time off but didn’t travel away from home in 2021 and more than a third plan to do the same in 2022.
- Companies remain supportive for the most part: On average, Canadians used two vacation days to take care of a sick family member or run errands (such as going to a doctor’s appointment). Thankfully, about half were provided exceptions to work from different locations or have additional flexibility and majority feel their employers are supportive of people taking vacation time.
So, what does this all mean as we look at 2022? People are ready, beyond ready, to prioritize the things that matter (hint: it’s not work!) by giving themselves permission to PTO. In fact, Canadians vowed to take nearly three full weeks of vacation days in 2022 – four more days than they took in 2021 – and one-in-five have already booked a trip for 2022. Almost all agree that regular vacations are important to general health and well-being and value vacation time more than ever.
Before you plan out your next vacation, remember to pursue what makes you happy. From making memories with your loved ones to spending some solid alone time on a beach somewhere, create the experiences YOU want, how you want, where you want. You just need to break a few bad habits. But don’t worry, we’re here to rewrite the rules of vacation together:
- Staying glued to work: Even though most Canadians enjoy feeling unproductive during vacations, over a third still brought their work laptops and 25% frequently joined Zoom calls. Further, a third spent vacation time doing a “side hustle.”
Save the hustle for Monday: Or Tuesday, or whenever you come back from vacation. Work will still be there when you come back – make that a tomorrow problem.
- Overextending yourself: 43% of Canadians put their cell phone numbers in their OOO work emails or gave them to coworkers or clients.
Set and re-set boundaries: Let’s eliminate “call or text me if you need anything” from our vacation vocabulary, and auto-correct to “I’ll get back to you upon my return.” In fact, go to settings > notifications then toggle off. Delete your work email account and put your phone on “do not disturb.”
- Treating vacation days like your savings account: More than one-in-10 people saved some of their vacation days to use next year.
Don’t leave any days behind: You earned it, you deserve it, and most times … you need it. Why collect your time off like trading cards? Seize the moment and give yourself the time you need now to take a break, relax and recharge.
- Being too hard on yourself: Although 76% feel their colleagues are supportive of them taking vacations, nearly half feel guilty having coworkers covering work while they are out and around 40% feel the need to apologize or make excuses for taking vacation time.
Give yourself permission to PTO: Take a deep breath and release that anxious energy. Gone are the days when you feel guilty for taking some time for yourself. Whether you’re headed to the beach with family to unplug from all screens or are curling up to a good book for a little self-care – that time is yours! Use it.
Don’t forget that you can get more out of every trip and save on the things that matter through Expedia Rewards. Sign up for an Expedia account to get instant access to savings worth 10% or more on thousands of hotels, thanks to Member Pricing.
With COVID-19, it’s important to stay up to date on the latest travel guidance and restrictions. Find out what to expect, how to find flexible travel and other information on our COVID-19 travel guide.
*Vacation Deprivation study was conducted online among 14,544 respondents across 16 countries in North and South America, Europe and Asia-Pacific. Commissioned from December 14 – December 30, 2021, on behalf of Expedia by Northstar Research Partners, responses were gathered using an amalgamated group of best-in-class panels.