After a less than normal 2020 year and many people in America going without work or travel for much of the year, 2021 summer vacations look a bit more promising.
Even before the global pandemic, Americans had 768 million unused vacation days in 2019. It’s time to take those vacation days back! Studies show it’s not only great for employees’ mental and physical health, but it’s essential for productivity as well.
Used Vacation Days Increases Productivity
According to multiple studies, the work martyr trend continues to gain popularity, and Millennials are some of the main culprits since they now make up much of the workforce. From 1978 to 2000, Americans took an average of 20 vacation days per year, which plummeted to 16 days in 2014. Interestingly, new research points out that taking time off work can improve workforce efficiency.
The Wall Street Journal states that workers that take appropriate time off are healthier than workers that don’t, and healthier workers are more productive. Therefore, companies should urge their employees to use more time off each year.
Companies like Netflix, Glassdoor, and Dropbox first initiated the “Unlimited PTO” trend because they believe that employees that feel cared for work harder and better. They believe that efficient work requires sufficient vacationing to recharge and perform at their best, leaving how long to vacation up to the employee.
Many other companies started softly mandating their employees to take a minimum of two to three weeks off per year. If the employee doesn’t take time off, their boss is supposed to bring it up during their yearly review.
Vacation Days Improves Employee Mental and Physical Health
Not only are vacation days essential for productivity, but they are also essential for worker mental health. The US Travel Association found that taking the proper amount of vacation time improves the worker’s happiness with:
- Their career
- The company where they work
- Personal and coworker relationships
- Physical health and well-being
When employees are happy, their anxiety and depression symptoms subside as well. According to Corporate Wellness, rested employees are productive employees, but they are also physically and mentally healthier employees.
A Psychosomatic Medicine study, conducted over nine years, found that regular vacations reduce the risk of heart disease in men and women.
Why Employees Still Don’t Take a Vacation
By now, it is a well-known fact that employers want their employees to take vacations, and employees themselves want to vacation. So why aren’t employees taking advantage of their PTO?
Aside from the work martyr complex, here are a few reasons employees work through their vacation days:
- Feeling guilty for making their coworkers pick up the slack while they’re gone
- Fearing they won’t receive a promotion if it looks like they are always gone
- They have no one willing or able to take time off with them
- Pressures from bosses to meet deadlines
- Concerned about how much a vacation costs
Most of these fears are anxiety-based. In reality, well-planned vacation time can debunk all of these fears and benefit the employee, coworkers, and business.
The US Travel Association also wants you to save the date for National #PlanForVacation Day on January 25, 2022. Everyone is invited to take time to travel and regroup for the coming year. It’s about time American workers cut into the 768 million unused vacation day tally.