The annual study reveals that Malaysians need to reset their work-life balance, with only 37 percent taking their entitled annual leaves

KUALA LUMPUR, 1st March 2018 Expedia.com.my today released the key results of its 2017 Expedia Vacation Deprivation® Study, an annual survey that looks at the vacation habits of more than 15,000 employees across 30 countries, revealing that Malaysia is the third most vacation deprived country globally and the second in Asia Pacific

According to the study, almost two third of Malaysians (65 percent) described themselves as very or somewhat vacation deprived, which implies that Malaysians need to reset their work-life balance. 52 percent of Malaysian employees reported that they cancelled their vacation plans due to their work and only 37 percent took all their entitled leaves despite the recent increase in annual leaves to 18 days.

The primary reasons cited for not taking vacations amongst Malaysians are budget or affordability issues (35 percent), the desire to save up vacation days for a longer holiday (31 percent), and the unavailability to get away from work (26 percent).

Vacation deprivation on the rise across the globe, Asia-Pacific leads the pack

Vacation deprivation is on the rise all across the globe, with 53 percent of full-time working adults globally feeling vacation-deprived in 2017, an increase from 49 percent in 2016. However, when compared against the Americas and Europe, Asia Pacific leads the pack as the most vacation-deprived region, with South Korea topping the list as the most vacation-deprived country with 81 percent of full-time working adults feeling deprived of vacations.

Expedia.com.my

Figure 1. Percentage of full-time working adults who feel vacation-deprived in 30 markets globally.

Looking at the trends across industry sectors, the marketing & media and food & beverage industries – industries that are known for tight deadlines and long working hours – emerged as the two most vacation-deprived industries globally. 66 percent of workers in the marketing & media industry and 62 percent of workers in food & beverage industry globally agree that they are vacation-deprived, contrasting against the 47 percent and the 49 percent recorded in the two least vacation-deprived sectors – education and government – respectively.

Regular Vacations key to Malaysian Employees’ Personal and Professional Well-being

Meanwhile, more than one third of Malaysians (35 percent) still checked their work-related emails or voicemails at least once a day while on vacation and 38 percent felt stressed after checking in, although 72 percent responded that they believe it is their right to take a vacation without feeling guilty.

When asked about the benefits of taking regular vacations, 49 percent of Malaysians agree that vacations are important for their general health and well-being, 47 percent agree that they are important for their relationship with their significant other and 47 percent agree that they help them feel better connected to friends and family.

Simon Fiquet

Mr. Simon Fiquet, General Manager of Southeast Asia & India, Expedia shared the key results on 2017 Expedia Vacation Deprivation Study, focusing on Malaysia and Asia region.

“As one of the most socially engaged markets in the world, it is not surprising that employees in Malaysia find it hard to detach themselves from work but this also evidently corroborates that Malaysians don’t get to fully enjoy their vacation. Our report provides valuable implications- to both Malaysian employees and employers that quality time off is crucial for better productivity and performance as a critical part of work-life balance,” said Simon Fiquet, General Manager of Expedia Southeast Asia and India.

In addition, 77 percent of Malaysians agree that they become more relaxed after returning from a vacation, 53 percent more productive and 49 percent more focused. At the same time, 40 percent mentioned that they can think more holistically.

“Workplace and personal stress are increasingly affecting employee well-being at a global scale, and the World Health Organisation has called this the ‘health epidemic of the 21st Century’. As such, taking time off or vacationing to recover mentally, physically and emotionally from life’s demands has scientifically been proven to not only reduce stress, but to also improve health, productivity, creativity and relationships. It is no wonder that there is an emergence of employers who are implementing wellness as part of their business strategy to improve employee experiences and performance in the workplace,” stressed Hetal Doshi-Suhana Daswani, Registered Organizational Psychologist and Certified Professional Coach from O PSYCH Sdn Bhd.

Additional highlights from the study include:
  • Malaysian millennials (18 to 34 years old) are the most vacation deprived age group (71 percent).
  • 54 percent of Malaysian employees actually spend time at work dreaming about vacation and 65 percent planning their vacations.
  • The happiest moments when on vacation is travelling and having quality time with family, partner or friends (75 percent), exploring something new (73 percent), and experiencing different cultures and cuisines (69 percent).
  • Malaysians are most likely to take one day of extra vacation to enjoy alcohol (55 percent), followed by television (49 percent), and dessert (39 percent).

“At Expedia, we put in tremendous effort to make travel simple and affordable, to help people go places and gain new perspectives and experiences. With the 2018 public holidays and long weekend travel calendar already planned out, this can help Malaysians to maximise their leave and go on more vacations, at least a short refresh from long weekend getaways, to enhance their personal and professional well-being,” Simon added.

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