Do we recover from vacation? Meta-analysis of vacation effects on health and well-being

We all know that vacation days are extremely important for employees because it allows them to wind up and recover from work. They also offer the chance to come back to work and be more productive. There are certain theories in the literature that focus on the effect that stress has on jobholders. These theories state that, people who have a high workload level and little time to recover tend to develop prolonged fatigue, sleep, and heart problems.

What types of recovery are there?

Research shows that there are 4 types of recovery, based on duration and time span after work:

  1. microrecovery (first couple of minutes after time performance);
  2. mesorecovery (10 minutes to 1h after task performance);
  3. metarecovery (1h to 2 days after work); 
  4. macrorecovery (more than 2 days after work).

Vacation, as a type of macrorecovery, is perfect to help individuals to recover better after work. Vacations are important because people spend time away from work relaxing in a different environment. They also get the opportunity to spend more time with their family or focusing on a hobby or other pleasant activity.


What does the data tell us?

The results of this meta-analysis show that there’s a small although significant effect of vacation on health and well-being. People who were recently on vacation had fewer health complaints and were more satisfied with their life. The downside is that these positive effects tend to fade out 2 to 4 weeks after employees return to work.



The bottom line of today’s article study supports the significance of vacation time on employees. All that time spent far away from work is beneficial for their health and well-being, having time to recover and come back to work in good shape.