Is Burnout Driving The Future Of Work? A New Era of American Expats Emerging Amid Hesitation to Vacation

Americans are taking less vacation than ever before, but ready to take the leap to work abroad

With burnout levels at an all time high and travel interest back on the rise as pandemic concerns wane, everyone is eager to finally take the vacation they’ve pushed off for the past few years. However, despite this desire, it seems as though folks are hesitant to take the plunge and actually commit to taking the time off. Wise dove deeper to understand what the future of work is when it comes to personal time off (PTO), how and and where people are working today, and how and where people would work if given the chance. 

PTO policies aren’t changing, but the way we take time off is

Based on a study of U.S. consumers, we found that an overwhelming number of people aren’t taking time off. Nearly one in three respondents (31%) expressed that they had not taken any PTO days to go on vacation within the last twelve months. Meanwhile, 56% of respondents had taken less than five days of PTO for vacation in total in the past year. The hesitation to unplug and step away from work isn’t due to employers changing their vacation policies; in fact, 79% of respondents said their company vacation policies did not change since the start of the pandemic. So why aren’t people taking the time to relax and recharge? 

Fears abound when it comes to taking time off, especially after a pandemic that left many feeling hesitant to travel, but the state of the world has left many feeling stuck. Another recent Wise report found that among the top deterrents for U.S. consumers booking an international vacation were not having the money to afford it (47%) and inflation (27%), while 47% of people said rising costs have impacted their travel plans.

With everyone facing new concerns, the way the world takes time off from work may look different. But with the right financial strategy and budgeting, the dream vacation you’ve been planning for years isn’t off the table. We are ushering in a new era of work life balance and relearning how to unplug, after years of employees being on the cusp of burnout. 

To avoid the crash and burn of being overworked, learn to embrace your company’s time off policy and stop letting the days rollover (or get lost entirely!). If your biggest concern is dropping a bit more cash than you expected on your next international trip, look to use a universal account to save money in foreign transaction fees and exchange rates and feel good about spending wisely and like a local. 

Move over WFH: WFA (Work from Abroad) has entered the chat 

While many are hesitant to take time off, their desire to work internationally – not just from home – is loud and clear. Our study found half (50%) of American consumers say they would work abroad, with the youngest working generation most willing to do so. In fact, 68% of Gen Zers say they would take the international work plunge, compared to 34% of their Baby Boomer counterparts. But are these would-be expats being given that chance?

It’s a mixed bag. Thirty percent of consumers say that they have more flexibility to work from anywhere in the world compared to a year ago.

On the flipside, nearly half (49%) say they are still required to go to their physical office, indicating the work from anywhere dream is not being fulfilled for many. Our findings show that we could be on the brink of a new wave of expats jumping ship to pursue new employment and find more fulfilling work outside of the United States – in other words, “The Great Settlement.”

If you’re figuring out how to take the next steps in becoming an expat, one of your first priorities should be to create a financial plan that will help make the transition abroad as smooth as possible. Look at setting up a Wise account to send, receive, hold and spend money in over 40 currencies. 

On behalf of Wise, Researchscape International polled 2,221 U.S. and Canadian adult (age 18+) consumers in May 2022. Results were weighted by age, gender, Census division, education level, and employment status.

About Wise

Wise is a global technology company, building the best way to move money around the world. With the Wise account people and businesses can hold over 40 currencies, move money between countries and spend money abroad. Large companies and banks use Wise technology too; an entirely new cross-border payments network that will one day power money without borders for everyone, everywhere. However you use the platform, Wise is on a mission to make your life easier and save you money.

Co-founded by Kristo Käärmann and Taavet Hinrikus, Wise launched in 2011 under its original name TransferWise. It is one of the world’s fastest growing, profitable technology companies and is listed on the London Stock Exchange under the ticker, WISE.

16 million people and businesses use Wise globally, which processes £9 billion in cross-border transactions every month, saving customers around £1.5 billion a year.

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