Many surveys have recently polled that corporate culture is shaming millennials into not using their vacation days. Allianz Global Assistance conducted a survey that showed millennials suffering because their work environments are discouraging them from taking time off. Many Americans have stopped taking their vacation days due to the sense of negative connotations, guilt, and shame from co-workers and bosses. During a 2016 study, a projected 662 million vacation days went untouched.
Younger generations in the workforce have a tendency to become work martyrs. They become work-obsessed and want to constantly be at the office. There are certain perceptions people have if they were to take a vacation. One reason is that no one else in the company is able to do their job while they’re gone. Another is that they want to show dedication to the company and the work they do. Employees could feel that if they leave and someone does cover their work, it will make them replaceable.
Employees are starting to get into the mindset that it is a good thing to be seen as a work martyr by your boss. Around 48 percent of Millennials stated that they wanted to be viewed as a martyr. If you take into account that millennials entered the workforce during an economic downturn and are dealing with paying off their student loans, it makes sense as to why they have this mindset in the workplace.
Yes, showing commitment to your work and company is a great thing to strive for, but it can also quickly lead to burnout. Employers should know that there is value in taking time off to relax and refresh themselves. Scientific research backs this up. Making it more known that taking a vacation is accepted (and encouraged) will ease the stress that employees get when requesting time off. This will hopefully make them see they are able to take all the days given to them. Upper management should also lead by example and use the vacation time available to them as well. When employees hear, “Take your vacation days, it’s fine. But I’m not taking mine,” they get discouraged about using it.
A vacation doesn’t have to be a week long. But taking the time to refresh yourself is important so you aren’t reaching your burnout point.