The Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal Wonders If Employees Feel Too Integral at Work

More than half of surveyed workers wasted vacation days in 2015, Melanie Trottman looks into who (or what) is to blame: 

More than half of U.S. workers left some vacation time unused in 2015, depriving the American economy of $223 billion in spending on restaurants, home-improvement projects, hotels and other travel, according to a new study.

The main culprit: the spread of smartphones, the Internet and other technologies increasing employees’ attachment to work.

“The constant connectivity makes us feel so integral and indispensable that we have a harder time getting away,” said Katie Denis, the Senior Director of Project: Time Off, a travel-industry initiative that commissioned the research.

The study found that workers used 16.2 vacation days on average last year, compared with the long-term average of 20.3 days from 1976 to 2000. More than half of workers surveyed as part of the research — 55% — left days unused last year, up from prior years, Ms. Denis said, though figures aren’t exactly comparable because the methodology changed.