Data suggests nearly 8 in 10 employees suffer from burnout. While that seems to be predominantly caused by toxic work environments and mismanagement, a high prevalence of it is just one argument that could be used in favour of work-life balance.

In an increasingly competitive marketplace, it’s more important than ever to unplug and recharge, but most companies don’t shutter their doors when a worker takes time off.

That reality has nearly half of U.S. employees believing a vacation causes more stress than it’s worth.

RELATED: 8 in 10 employees suffer from burnout

The findings come from a survey commissioned by Neuvana, a self-described neuroscience and wellness company. Conducted earlier this year, it included responses from 1,076 U.S.-based professionals with a consumer sample provided by Pollfish.

VIDEO: Signs of a toxic work environment

Working from home doesn’t work

Nearly 60 per cent said they connect remotely at least once a month, but 51 per cent of that group said working from home increased their feelings of stress, while 43 per cent said working from home is more stressful than being at the office.

Meanwhile, 61 per cent of all participants said they feel compelled to respond to professional emails outside of working hours.

Vacations not worth the effort

“Sadly, 48 per cent say taking time off for vacation causes more work-related stress than it’s worth, with 23 per cent unable to completely disconnect from work while on vacation,” reads an excerpt from the findings.

“For many, taking time off presents an array of challenges such as falling behind at work (23 per cent), the amount of work to get done prior to leaving (21 per cent) and getting work covered by colleagues (19 per cent).”

Fancy a vacay? An increasing number of U.S. employees say it’s not worth it. File photo/Canva.

The findings are noteworthy, given the results of a recent global LinkedIn study. In it, 69 per cent of HR professionals cited work-life balance as a main factor impacting job satisfaction. The site’s annual Global Trends Report surveyed more than 7,000 HR professionals in 35 countries between August and September to form its conclusions — but that could be where the discrepancy between the findings of the two surveys arises.

While several countries mandate paid vacation leave for full-time employees, the U.S. does not, and part of the reason employees are forfeiting vacation could be due to corporate attitudes toward vacation leave in the U.S.

Lost days

In 2018, approximately 85 per cent of U.S. workers received paid vacation days with an average of 10 days paid leave, according to CNBC. Employees with more tenure and experience often receive more than 10 paid days off.

The U.S. does not mandate paid vacation days. COURTESY: Pixabay (graphic elements added by We Rep STEM.)

Even though U.S. days aren’t mandated, these averages are roughly equivalent to that of Canada, the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica, where full-time employees who have worked a certain amount of time are granted a minimum of 10 mandated paid days.

But Americans appear to take fewer vacation days than people from other countries, with 52 per cent of workers using only a portion of their vacation days in 2017, according to the U.S. Travel Association

“America has a growing “vacation deprivation” problem: American workers left 768 million unused vacation days on the table in 2018, up 9 per cent from the previous year,” the association says on its website

“And 236 million of those days were forfeited completely, totaling more than $65 billion in lost benefits.”

The organization has launched a public awareness campaign, called #PlanYourVacationDay, scheduled for January 28.

Visit the hashtag on Twitter for tips, planning resources, destination ideas, and other incentives aimed at getting more U.S. residents to take much-needed time off.

Images courtesy of Pexels (@SpitShire) and Canva. Edited by We Rep STEM.