It’s the time of the year where the dreaded human resources department in your soul-sucking company is looking back at your yearly reviews and reminding you that to better use up the remaining of your vacation time because “no, the vacation time does not carry forward to the next year. What on earth gave you that idea?” Perhaps it’s the 4th time your request for a holiday has been denied due to “lack of staff”.
Cue hyperventilation and panic.
According to the result of an online survey conducted by Northstar on behalf of Expedia, Malaysians tend to only use up 10 of their 14 days off. This survey is conducted from August 25 to September 17, 2014 across North America, Europe, South America and Asia Pacific among 7.855 employed adults aged 18 years and above.
The survey found that overall, Asians feel the most vacation-deprived, with Malaysia ranking second at an impressive 72% (no, this is not a good thing). Singapore had a lower sense of vacation deprivation at 64%, while Thailand is not faring much better at 69%.
According to the breakdown of the days off offered and the days taken, Singapore used a total of 14 out of the 16 days offered while Thailand uses 10 out of the measly 11 days offered. South Korea only use half of the 14 days off and is the country that uses the least of their vacation days (at 7 days taken).
Denmark, Germany, France, UAE and Spain offered the highest number of day off at 30 days and has the entire 30 days taken. United Kingdom residents take 25 out of 26 days off, Italitans 21 out of 28 and Norwegians, Austrians and Swedish takes 25 out of 25 days off. Excuse me while I go fill in the immigrations forms.
The number of days off does not really correlate to vacation deprivation, as UAE has the highest percentage of workers reporting to feel deprived despite having twice the number of days off compared to Malaysia. 69% of the Swedish and 75% of the workers from UK reported feeling deprived despite having 25 and 26 days off respectively explained that they do not feel they get enough holiday days. Just goes to show that some people are never happy with what they have.
Meanwhile, 89% of employed adults globally are willing to make sacrifices for more vacation time. 9% of those working adults are willing to not shower for a week to have an extra day off. I should note here that in country based results, 16% of the people from UK are willing to sacrifice showers in exchange for an extra day off. A whooping 20% are willing to forgo internet. For an entire week. 21% are willing to sacrifice their smartphones and 24% are willing to abstain from sex. When it comes to junk food though, only 54% are willing to let it go.
Why aren’t Malaysians making full use of their (our) vacation times? Like I mentioned in the beginning of the article, work schedule plays a vital part, with 29% quoting their busy work schedule as a hindrance to their days off. 36% blamed it on lack of money and 31% said it was too difficult to coordinate scheduling with family.
56% of Malaysians typically take short vacations as opposed to 24% taking long vacations. This is close to the global percentage of 53% and 29% respectively. Taking long holidays not only require scheduling around the holidays (which typically means more expensive everything), it also requires the worker to fight over who gets to go on holiday during the respective festive holidays (Christmas, New Year, Easter…) To simplify this, most people are taking holidays during non-peak periods and during weekends, sometimes taking longer weekend breaks by taking the Friday and Monday off.
Vacations are vitally important though, that much is agreed by the majority of the surveyors with 91% saying that it is important for their relationship with their significant others and 90% stating that it helped them feel better connected to their friends and family.
What we should take away from this is that Malaysians are taking too few holidays. Stop pretending that taking that Friday off and having a longer weekend to be able to lounge at home is a holiday. Travel and live a little! The sky is the limit. Actually, the number of days off you have left is the limit… but you get my point.