The Importance of Taking All of Your Vacation Time

By: Katie Stout

Digital Marketing Strategist


This year is slowly fizzling out and you might be too if you haven’t used all of your allotted vacation time! Taking time off is crucial to maintaining a high level of productivity and will help you feel happier at work.

According to one survey, four out of 10 Americans aren’t going to take all of their vacation days this year. If you are one of those four, this is your friendly reminder to take a break from work, not only mentally, but also, physically and emotionally. So get those vacation request forms in!

Why Do We Skip Vacations?

With all of the benefits that taking time off offers, you would think that everyone would be jumping at the chance to get out of the office. However, you probably know from personal experience, that this isn’t always the case.

We Are What We Do

Our society has grown to value work over rest. As Americans, we wear our busy badges with pride, which in reality, can prevent us from taking the time that we need to be our most productive selves. There is nothing wrong with working hard, but overworking yourself can, and inevitably will, take its toll.

The average American is allotted fifteen days of vacation time during the year, a figure that is significantly less than almost every other industrialized country. Even though we get less vacation time, nearly 54% of American workers left vacation time on the table last year. While work is an important aspect in many of our lives, studies show that if you take vacation time, you will be more satisfied and efficient at your job.

Work Will Be Waiting for You

The culture of the United States is one that promotes professional success one of the most important achievements a person can reach in life. Because of this, it can be very easy to get so tied up in your work that it begins to feel like you are the only person who can do your specific job. Thinking this way can make it hard to believe that your company will continue to function properly if you are away for any period of time. Even if people do take vacations, often they take on extra work before leaving and are still unable to shake off the anxiety that something will be missed while they are away.

In reality, the office will be perfectly fine without you for the short time you will be gone, no matter how many long days you work before leaving for vacation. Even if you are the only person that can do your exact job, there is likely someone who can help in some capacity until you are back in the office. There is no escaping the fact that there will be a bit of extra work when you return, however, you will be better positioned to take on more work after you have recharged during your time away from the office.

In the ever-connected world that we live in today, constant communication is not only possible, but expected. With all of the benefits that this allows, it can pose a threat to our ability to actually take a break. With 23 percent of Americans checking their work email or voicemail while on vacation, it’s no surprise that we don’t go out of our way to take all of our vacation days. If you are still doing work while on vacation, you are missing out on all of the benefits of taking the time to unwind.

You Can’t Afford a Vacation

One of the biggest excuses that people have for not taking their vacation time is that they don’t have a good enough reason. The average cost of a vacation is $1,145 per person. Looking at that number probably makes the majority of us cringe, which doesn’t even factor in the cost of lost wages if your company doesn’t have a paid vacation policy, or if you often work overtime.

But the reality is that you don’t have to go all-out on your vacation plans. Gaining the benefits of taking a vacation doesn’t even require leaving your home. In fact, taking a little bit of time at home can be just as relaxing and doesn’t add additional planning and financial stress. If you do take a staycation, make sure that you change up your routine at least a little bit. Maybe take a short day trip, spend the day working on a fun non-work related project or just spend your time outside. The options are endless!

Why You Should Take Your Vacation

You Will be More Productive

Taking a break from your everyday life allows you to come back to work with new a renewed energy. That’s a fact. One study found that 35 percent of Americans are more productive after a vacation.

Not only will you be more productive for a short time after you return, you will perform better in the long run. For each additional 10 hours of vacation employees took, their year-end performance ratings improved by eight percent and employees were more likely to stick around longer. So do yourself and your employer a favor and get out of the office!

Do It for Your Health

There is the old saying, “taking all of your vacation days keeps the doctor away” …or something along those lines. There have been quite a few studies investigating the connection between those who take vacations regularly and cardiovascular health. One of these studies found that men who didn’t take a vacation for “several years” were 30 percent more likely to have heart attacks, compared to men who took regular time off.

You’ll Sleep Better

Stress from our work environments can impact every aspect of life, including sleep. When you are stressed, your brain is sent into overdrive, which can leave you lying awake at night. By taking some time away from your work, you can reduce stress and anxiety, and in turn, improve your sleep.

You’ll Be Happier

Our lives shouldn’t revolve entirely around our jobs. Taking time to focus on personal priorities can improve your overall outlook on life. One study found that the odds of depression and tension were higher among women who took vacations only once in two years, compared with women who took vacations twice or more per year. Allowing yourself time to enjoy the activities that you love, can significantly improve your mental and emotional health.

If you don’t take your vacation time, you are essentially passing up free money. In 2016, American workers gave up $66.4 billion in benefits alone.

You Don’t Have to Take One Big Vacation

The holidays can be the hardest time to get additional time off, as it can be the busiest time for many industries. If you’ve put your vacation time off until now, it might be stressful trying to figure out how to take it before the end of the year.

Next year, don’t wait until the end of the year. Plan your vacations now. Even if it means just staying home to relax for a few days, taking your vacation time is crucial to maintaining a healthy, balanced life.

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