ST. LOUIS — Vacation shaming – being made to feel a sense of shame or guilt from co-workers for taking a vacation – has become prevalent in the workplace, especially among millennials, according to new research. A survey by Alamo Rent A Car shows more employed millennials (59 percent) reported feeling a sense of shame for taking or planning a vacation compared to those 35 or older (41 percent).
Oddly enough, employed millennials aren’t just more likely to feel vacation-shamed – they’re significantly more likely than older generations to say they also shame their co-workers (42 percent vs. 24 percent).
While millennials were most likely to feel guilty about taking time off, Alamo’s research indicates that vacation shaming is affecting all generations. Nearly half (47 percent) of all workers surveyed said they felt a sense of shame or guilt at their workplace for taking time off to go on a vacation.
What’s more, two-fifths (42 percent) of those think their co-workers are seriously shaming them – not just joking. And nearly half (47 percent) said they’ve felt the need to justify to their employer why they’re using their vacation days.
Twenty-two percent of those employed individuals surveyed reported that feeling shame was at least somewhat likely to keep them from going on or planning a vacation. “This year’s research indicates that vacation shaming is a real workplace issue that can, in some cases, discourage hard-working Americans from taking well-deserved time off with their families,” said Rob Connors, vice president of brand marketing for Alamo Rent A Car. “In addition, our survey shows employees continue to leave a large percentage of paid vacation days on the table.”
“It’s long past time to stop wearing unused vacation days as a badge of honor,” said Gary Oster, managing director of Project: Time Off, an initiative to win back America’s Lost Week of vacation. “By forgoing vacation days, Americans are missing out on stronger bonds with family and friends, greater fulfillment and productivity in their work lives and enhanced health and wellness as a result of time away from the office.”