Being focused on work and having grit and determination to get the job done at all cost can be rewarding. But when work affects your health and wellbeing, it begs the question: are you guilty of overworking?

Aside from salary and benefits, the amount of paid time off we enjoy every year is one of the most important elements of employment. Ensuring we take a break from non-stop productivity is crucial for our overall health, work performance, and to minimize work burnout.

Celebrity Cruises recently surveyed over 1,200 Americans to see if they're taking full advantage of their PTO, how they use their time off, and which industries are providing the most PTO for their hard-working employees. 

The Truth About PTO

Many companies don't even offer PTO, while others offer sick days, personal days, and vacation time under one umbrella. Understanding the needs of your employees will not only create trust but lessen fatigue and be beneficial for the company in the long run.

From the survey report:

  • Nearly 1 in 5 respondents said they would rather add five more vacation days to their calendar than receive a 10% pay raise.

Of course, having leftover PTO isn't always due to people's lack of trying:

  • 21% of respondents said they had a vacation request denied in the past year.

  • Nearly half of employees left paid vacation time unused...could this be because of pressure to complete work-related tasks?

Industry Breakdowns 

Of the 11 industries that were included in Celebrity Cruise's survey, nine offered their workers an average of 14 or 15 paid vacation days per year -- equivalent to two weeks, more or less. Hotel, food services, and hospitality offered the fewest number of days at 11, while arts, entertainment, and recreation employees were given an average of 12.

Some industries offered quite generous PTO packages, but employees felt compelled to work extra hours to make up for vacation time:

  • Overall, 62% admit working extra hours the week before their travels, and this takes a toll on women the most -- half of female employees report being "more stressed."

Although the finance, technology, and medical industries all offered at least 14 days of PTO, employees in these fields were the most likely to work overtime before vacation.

Benefits and Burnout

Along with women, Gen Xers and baby boomers in particular said they experienced a spike in stress levels before taking a vacation. Mostly because of the amount of work that would be waiting for them upon their return or worries about work being mishandled while they were away.

As burnout continues to be an issue in the workforce, vacations have become increasingly necessary. But it's up to employees to take advantage of workplace benefits, while employers should identify employee needs and understand when they may need some time off.