Post-Time-Off Burnout in America: Insights From a Nationwide Survey

Holidays, breaks, and vacations should have people returning to work rested and ready to jump back in. But instead, it often leaves them feeling drained. To understand this phenomenon, MyBioSource surveyed over 1,000 employed Americans about when burnout starts, how common it is, and how to cope with it. We also examined its impact across various industries and genders. Join us as we explore these findings and shed light on the effects of post-time-off burnout on the American workforce.


Key Takeaways


  • 42% of employed Americans dread returning to work after having time off.
  • 41% of employed Americans are currently experiencing post-time-off burnout, with 14% already making mistakes due to exhaustion.
  • 34% of employed Americans report that burnout typically sets in immediately after returning from their time off, while 50% indicate it occurs within one week of returning.


Exploring the Aftermath of Having Time Off


In this first section, we’ll explore who’s experiencing post-time-off burnout in the American workforce and when.

Our survey revealed some concerning statistics. A notable 42% of employed Americans said they dread returning to work after taking time off. This trepidation underscores a deeper issue: 41% of respondents were currently battling post-time-off burnout. Nearly half of managers (47%) reported this, as did 22% of business owners.


In most cases, the onset of burnout is swift. Just over 1 in 3 respondents (34%) reported feeling burnt out immediately upon returning to work, while half succumbed to burnout within the first week back. This varied by gender, with 39% of women experiencing immediate burnout after time off compared to 29% of men.


The prevalence of post-time-off burnout was also higher among certain professions. Healthcare workers topped the list, with 49% feeling the strain, followed closely by educators at 44% and marketing professionals at 42%.


Burnout Symptoms and Support


This next section of our study explores what burnout feels like for American workers and whether employers are doing anything about it.

Many employed Americans suffering from post-time-off burnout reported experiencing low energy levels (65%), while 63% struggled with feeling less motivated. Over a quarter (29%) even mentioned feeling sad after vacation. More than mere inconveniences, these symptoms can lead to tangible consequences in the workplace.


More than 1 in 8 (14%) of those feeling the effects of post-time-off burnout admit to making mistakes due to their exhaustion. This was even more pronounced among the younger workforce, with 19% of Gen Z employees acknowledging errors made as a direct result of burnout.


Despite these figures, there appears to be a significant lack of workplace support for these problems. Only 8% of employed Americans said their employer had measures in place to address employee burnout. This highlights a need for organizations to recognize and combat the issue of post-time-off burnout. By failing to do so, they risk not only the well-being of their employees but also the efficiency and accuracy of the work being produced.


Coping Strategies


In this final section, we shift our focus to the strategies workers use to avoid burnout. 

Our survey revealed that exercising, prioritizing self-care, and listening to music have been the top strategies employees have used to combat burnout symptoms. Respondents also ranked these as the three most effective prevention strategies. Nearly 1 in 3 Gen Z respondents (32%) identified exercising as the most effective method to stave off burnout — the highest percentage among all generations surveyed. This preference for physical activity shows the changing attitudes toward wellness among younger employees and the potential for exercise to serve as a valuable tool in managing work-related stress.


Additionally, our findings show that a significant portion of the workforce is proactively setting goals to address burnout: 1 in 6 employees had made New Year’s resolutions focused specifically on preventing or managing burnout, with Gen Z leading the way at 26%.


The State of Post-Time-Off Burnout in America


Burnout after taking time off, whether for a holiday or vacation, is a real and prevalent challenge for American workers. This phenomenon not only impacts employee well-being but also workplace productivity and efficiency. Employers may want to acknowledge this issue and implement supportive measures as needed. Additionally, employees should consider personal strategies to manage and prevent burnout. Moving forward, a collaborative effort is necessary to create a work environment where employees can return from time off feeling rejuvenated and ready to contribute effectively.




For this study, we surveyed 1,007 employed Americans to explore their sentiments on post-time-off burnout. Among them, 48% were women, 51% were men, and 1% identified as non-binary. In addition, 75% were employees, 19% were managers, and 6% were business owners. The generational breakdown was as follows:


  • Gen Z: 14%
  • Millennials: 56%
  • Gen X: 23%
  • Baby boomers 7%


The industry breakdown was as follows:


  • Information technology: 27%
  • Education: 14%
  • Retail: 14%
  • Health care: 13%
  • Finance: 11%
  • Government: 6%
  • Food and hospitality: 6%
  • Marketing: 5%
  • Construction: 4%


About MyBioSource


MyBioSource is a premier source for highly purified proteins, antibodies, and ELISA kits for scientific research and development. Offering a diverse range of products, MyBioSource enables researchers and scientists to advance their studies in fields such as immunology, molecular biology, and biochemistry, thereby contributing to the progress of scientific discovery and healthcare.


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