The more money you make, the harder it is to be on vacation: LinkedIn

Many workers dream of beach vacations while dealing with daily stresses. But the reality is that the more money you make, the harder it is to detach from work – especially if you’re on vacation, according to new research by LinkedIn.

For the 52% of Americans taking a vacation this year, responding to that email or returning that phone call takes priority over that well-deserved swim in the ocean – even if that out of office email message clearly states “out of office.”

There is a direct correlation between workers’ income and their engagement with work while on vacation. According to LinkedIn’s survey, 83% of workers who make between $160,000 and $180,000 received either a phone call or email more than once while on vacation, while 92% of those making $180,000 to $200,000 and 93% of people who make over $200,000 get contacted during their days off. (LinkedIn surveyed more than 1,000 people ages 18-74 across the U.S.)

On the other end of the income spectrum, 61% of people earning under $25,000 say they never engage with phone calls or emails on vacations.


Naturally, it goes both ways. Colleagues and clients contact employees on vacation, but 61% of workers are also reluctant to disconnect for fear of falling behind and bad optics.

A man working when he should be surfing,
A man working when he should be surfing,

Bad at vacation

Americans are, indeed, notorious for leaving their precious paid vacation on the table – though the numbers show some improvement. According to the U.S. Travel Association, 52% of employees reported having unused vacation days at the end of 2017, compared to 54% in 2016 and 55% in 2015.

Gen Z workers stay the most connected with work during their time off: 86% of this demographic said they stay actively engaged while on vacation, compared to 59% of workers of all age groups who continue to work on vacation, checking in at least once a day, the LinkedIn survey found.

Given the fact that 82% of professionals do not have a “summer hours” policy (e.g., half-day Fridays) – that trip to the south of France or Yellowstone National Park filled with work interruptions was likely their only shot at enjoying the summer and getting a rejuvenating break from the office.

Unplugging during that break is crucial to professional success, according to LinkedIn. “Vacation provides an opportunity to truly reset while taking time away from work,” says LinkedIn career expert Blair Decembrele. When people don’t take time off, 58% feel overwhelmed, according to LinkedIn data. Not to mention the health benefits of regular time off: one recent study found “a reduction in the risk for cardiovascular disease the more vacationing a person does.”

LinkedIn also found that more than half (57%) of people who work at companies with enviable unlimited vacation policies took the same amount of vacation as they did at their previous employer. Thirty-nine percent of those workers say they can’t afford to take that much vacation.

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