Vacation Time Recharges U.S. Workers, but Positive Effects Vanish Within Days, New Survey Finds

June 27, 2018

Less Than Half of Employees Encouraged to Take Time Off, Have Enough Employer Support to Manage Work Stress

David W. Ballard, PsyD, MBA, Director of APA’s Center for Organizational Excellence

(Washington, D.C., Wednesday, June 27, 2018) – Taking time off helps the majority of U.S. workers recover from stress and experience positive effects that improve their well-being and job performance, but for nearly two-thirds of working adults, the benefits of time away dissipate within a few days, according to a survey to be released by the American Psychological Association.

The Work and Well-Being Survey provides a snapshot of the U.S. workforce, including employee well-being and attitudes and opinions related to workplace policies and practices. Among other things, this year’s survey explored the effect of time off – paid and unpaid – on employee well-being and work.

Nearly a quarter of working adults (24 percent) say the positive effects of vacation time – such as a better mood, more energy, feeling less stress – disappear immediately upon returning to work, the survey found. Forty percent said the benefits last only a few days.

APA’s Center for Organizational Excellence works to enhance the functioning of individuals, groups, organizations and communities through the application of psychology to a broad range of workplace issues. The center houses the Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program, a public education initiative designed to engage the employer community, raise public awareness about the value psychology brings to the workplace and promote programs and policies that enhance employee well-being and organizational performance.


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