Netflix CEO Reed Hastings says he takes six weeks of vacation annually. At a DealBook conference last year, he rejected the notion of work-life balance in favor of work-life integration. 

"What we're trying to do is earn loyalty," Hastings said of his company's unlimited vacation policy. "And trust that [employees will] really care about Netflix in addition to caring about their families, and they'll find successful ways to integrate it."

Even if you've adopted a similar policy to Netflix's though, it's important to assess whether your company's culture or organizational structure discourages vacation time. According to a workplace health poll by National Public Radio and Harvard Business Review, the majority of American workers do not take the full number of paid vacation days their company offers, a tendency that has a lot to do with work pressures.

While 75 percent of workers said their company offers paid vacation days, only 35 percent used all of them; another 14 percent said they used most of them. Meanwhile, 17 percent of workers reported not using any of their vacation days in the last year.

So why are American workers leaving paid vacation days on the table? According to the study, some psychological and organizational factors are at play. One major issue is a lack of proper staffing. Nearly a third of respondents said if they take vacation, there would be no one in the office who could cover for them. Another 28 percent said they were too overworked to disconnect long enough to take a vacation.

Looking beyond the study's findings on vacation days reveals a broader tendency among employees to work outside of normal business hours. Nearly two-thirds said they often or sometimes work overtime or weekend hours, and only 15 percent say they never do. However, when employees do take time off, nearly half say they never do any work. The most likely workaholics during vacation? Professionals in their 30s and 40s, men, and those in higher-paying jobs. 

Published on: Aug 5, 2016