2018 State of Vacation Policy [Benchmark Report]

How individuals in the United States and Europe think about vacation time, vacation guilt, and more.

About the Report

Owl Labs wanted to research how individuals across the globe think about vacation time, vacation guilt, and working remotely.

So, we surveyed employees from the United States and Europe to see the current state of vacation time and remote work.

Key Findings

On average, how many vacation days do you take per year?

Percentage of Respondents by Vacation Days

  • 0%
  • 2%
  • 4%
  • 6%
  • 8%
  • 10%
  • 12%
  • 14%
  • 16%
  • 18%
  • 20%

Number of Vacation Days

Percentage of Respondents by Vacation Days

Over a quarter (26%) of respondents feel guilty when taking vacation time and being away from work.

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Additionally, women are 17% more likely to feel guilty when away from work.


Americans are 2x more likely to take less than 12 vacation days per year than Europeans.

man-working-on-a-laptop-from-side-view (4) 

Those between the age of 25-44 were more likely to feel guilty for taking vacation time and being away from work than those who are older.

Americans are 50% more likely to feel guilty being away from work than Europeans.

Men take an average of 12% more vacation days than women.

Those aged 65+ take, on average, the most vacation days, while those between 25-34 take the least.

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Survey Results

Are you allowed to work remotely at your company?

Allowed to work remotely Europe NA

Do you feel that your company meets the demand of modern day remote and flexible working?

Meet demands of modern remote work Europe NA

US respondents take on average 15 days per year, and respondents in Europe take on average 22 days per year.

On average, how many vacation days do you take per year?

Average vacation days per year Europe NA

Does the ability to work remotely increase your interest in a potential employer?

Ability to work remotely interest Europe NA 2

Do you agree with the following statement: "I feel guilty when taking vacation time and being away from work."

Guilty taking vacation days Europe NA







Europe United States Demographic Chart


The traditional "9-to-5" office job of the Dolly Parton era is no longer the norm. Flexible, encouraged vacation policies are beneficial for both employer and employee. However, many companies are still working toward the right balance. 

These survey results show that improving vacation policies could lead to improved recruiting via more and better candidates and happier employees. Companies should also encourage employees to take a vacation, as we found 26% of respondents feel guilty taking vacation time. The impact is real. Inflexible vacation and remote work policies can lead to burnout, increased stress, and higher turnover rates.

Companies must acknowledge that that nearly all teams today are hybrid in nature, meaning they are a group of people who need to work together despite rarely being in the same location. Companies who develop flexible working environments will support all styles, and thus have happier and more successful employees.



For this report, we collected data using Google Surveys. The methodology for Google Surveys is explained in detail here.

Total respondents: 2,969
European respondents: 1,302
North American respondents: 1,667


About Owl Labs

Owl Labs is the creator of the Meeting Owl, an intelligent Internet of Things (IoT) 360° all-in-one video conferencing device that enables hybrid teams of remote and in-office employees. Owl Labs’ mission is to create the inclusive meeting experience remote employees deserve. For more information about the Meeting Owl and to see how it may help your hybrid team, see it in action here.

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