We all get way more than we ever think we will when we take vacation time. It took me awhile to get in the right vacation mind set. But now that I’m here I often wonder why so many of us don’t take the time that we work so hard for and that is due to us. And hint, hint, once we do take our long awaited vacations all we talk about is how great having vacation time is. Having said that, I am now back from a wonderfully relaxing time away from the office. And I am proud to say that I only cheated a couple of times. Full disclosure, I went on line once, okay twice over a seven business day period. Not too bad, if I do say so myself. For a multitude of reasons it can be so hard to actually take vacation time off and at the same time unplug.
Why you need to Take Vacation Time
It has been proven over and over again that taking vacation time helps to improve one’s health and outlook. Benefits include becoming more involved, carrying around less stress, and becoming reinvigorated and revitalized. And once back at the job focus, performance, aptitude, productivity and dedication skyrocket. So it’s surprising to hear that last year about 61% of US employers didn’t encourage vacations. And only 25% of US employees actually took all their entitled time off. You heard it right, only one quarter of all American workers took the vacation time they were due.
Not long ago I heard Tony Swartz, CEO of the Energy Project speak about this very topic. And he said a recent report revealed that Americans don’t use just over 428 million vacations days yearly. And the US happens to be the only one of the “developed countries” that do not give employees paid vacation time off. I find it amazing that the average American leaves four unused vacation days on the table. Especially when having time off gives us the opportunity to disconnect and restart. Making us better at our jobs.
No Matter What “They” say Vacation Time is Essential!
In a study about those in charge and their interpretation of employees who in fact do take their entire entitled time off. The results stated 15% of managers described employees as less productive, 15% described them as less dedicated and finally 10% described them as less likely to be promoted. All that tells me is that the majority of managers don’t get it. Don’t get that after vacation time we come back renewed, refresh, revitalized and ready to hit the ground running when it comes to work. So even when we have vacation time we’re afraid to use it. We need to take that archaic thought pattern and do an about face. Because no matter what you do for a living you not only deserve but need a break.
My colleague recently posted a blog “How Many Vacation Days Do You Take? Depends on Where You Live”. And I was surprised to learn in the area of the number of vacation days an employer is required to provide, the US is the only country with a zero next to it. You heard it right none, zippo, nil, zilch, nothing. Americans have an amazing work culture. Now is the time to rethink our vacation philosophy.