Due to a number of factors, Americans are feeling like they can take less time off from work, and those who do often take their work with them, defeating the purpose of taking a vacation altogether. Last year, 25 percent of American workers got no paid vacation, and 43 percent didn’t even take a solid week off. A third fewer American families take vacations together than they did in 1970 as well. These statistics just show that work has become the priority of many Americans’ lives.

A survey taken of advertising executives by the Creative Group found that only 13 percent never check in with their offices while on vacation. Also, 47 percent claimed to check in once a day. American Express also ran a poll which showed that 75 percent of small-business owners check in with their company once a day. Also, 20 percent pack up a laptop while on vacation, indicating that they expect to do some work while away from work. Technology is largely at fault for employees’ inability to leave work behind. Other reasons for being concerned about work includes insecurity about one’s fate if they miss something important at work, losing favor in the eyes of their bosses, and worry that their clients will feel uncomfortable working with someone else.

The purpose of getting away is to release people of the stress of their daily lives and recharge their batteries. When this isn’t fulfilled, employers come back to work in no better shape that they were before. This is especially true for those who get no vacation time and are working nonstop. To help those make the most of their vacations, it is recommended to schedule vacations when workloads are light, prepare clients for the absence and provide names of colleagues to contact, hire temporary staff to keep the office running, use auto-reply messages for voicemail and e-mail systems, and leave laptops and PDA’s behind. Those who must work during vacations should spend no more than half an hour each day and answer only the most essential calls and e-mails.

The United States is one of the few countries who has this problem. About 127 other countries in the world have a mandatory vacation law for employees. However, some Americans are trying to change this. A national organization called Take Back Your Time is a 10,000 member group who is attempting to get a federal vacation law passed to grant Americans at least three week paid vacations. Jancoa, a cleaning services company based in Cincinati extended vacation benefits for all of its employees to three weeks for only seven cents. Productivity and morale was so much improved that the company was able to eliminate overtime and cut retention and recruiting costs. Vacation time is also healthier for employees, reducing the risk of death from heart disease by 50 percent in women and 32 percent in men. This issue is yet another one that can benefit everyone involved if the practices are changed.

For related articles visit http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07213/805831-28.stm and http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?article=time_off_for_the_overworked_american.

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