As the temperatures begin to rise and daylight extends later into the evening hours, it is easy to think about summer plans and vacation time. Yet, it appears that this is not on everyone’s mind. According to Project: Time Off, 55% of American employees left vacation time unused in 2015, leaving an astounding 658 million days unused. Only 47% of employees will use all their vacation time.
What’s the issue? Why aren’t employees taking vacation time? There are a variety of reasons, including:
- Saving the time to take an extended vacation in the future
- Can’t afford to go on vacation
- Fear of losing their job
- Concerns about the amount of work that will be waiting upon return.
Good for employees
When employees yield to the barriers above, they miss out on all the personal, social and health promoting benefits of time off. The proverb, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” captures just one, the risk of being boring. The health benefits are many:
- Reduced stress - stepping away from the pressures of daily life helps you relax
- Healthy heart – taking vacations can reduce your risk of heart disease
- Better sleep – vacation activities (hiking, sightseeing, walking on the beach) are conducive to a good night’s sleep.
- Connection – sharing time with family or friends nurtures relationships and enhances your social support system.
Good for business
Encouraging employees to take vacation and to disconnect fully is good for business. It can result in improved productivity, creativity, and enhanced overall morale. What can employers do?
- Have managers actively encourage time off. If an employee hasn’t had time off in more than six months, the manager should be encouraging them to plan a vacation.
- Change your PTO carryover policy. Encourage employees to take time off by limiting the amount of time that can be carried over from one year to the next.
- Some people just can’t help themselves and continue to check email while on vacation. Set boundaries to discourage this over work problem by establishing a policy and implementing the technology to disable employee’s email while on vacation. This also helps reduce the stress of having employees return to an overflowing in box when they return.
Everyone benefits from a time away from the day-to-day routines of work and life. Just booking a vacation can boost your mood and happiness. When are you booking your next vacation?