We’re almost half way through 2018. Yes, look at your calendar. It’s late May and the days, weeks and months have blown by. Between juggling work, family, and friends, it has probably dawned on you that you’ve been so head down and on the grind, that you haven’t planned — let alone taken — a proper vacation. (And, no, three-day weekends do not count!)
Instead of kicking yourself for not booking a trip for Memorial Day or Fourth of July, buckle down and carve out some real R&R time away from the office. A recent Glassdoor study has revealed the average U.S. employee has only taken about half (54 percent) of his or her eligible vacation time/paid time off in the past 12 months. And of those who took their vacation time/PTO, 66% say they do work on vacation.
Given this data and the rising temperatures, it’s time to get serious about taking a break. Here are 7 reasons you need to schedule vacation time, ASAP!
Reason #1: If you don’t plan to take it now, research shows you probably won’t.
Respondents to the Glassdoor survey revealed that Americans are simply not taking their allocated PTO. According to the survey, the average employee has only used half (54%) of their paid time off within the past 12 months. Despite vacation time being one of the top three employer-provided benefits that has been shown to increase employee satisfaction, many workers don’t feel that they can take adequate time.
Reason #2: Take PTO while your plate isn’t loaded, otherwise, you’ll be working through your vacation.
We’ve all been there: on vacation but tethered to emails and the laptop. Unfortunately, that has become a hard-to-shake trend. Those who take vacation/PTO are disconnecting from work less while on vacation (66% of those who take vacation/paid time off say they do work on vacation, compared to 61% in 2014), according to the survey.
Reason #3: If you don’t prioritize it, neither will your colleagues or boss.
Emphasizing the importance of R&R is your task and yours alone. Unless you prioritize your need for email-free, work-free, meeting-free vacation, chances are your boss will try to sneak in a little work from you, no matter what remote island you’re on. Survey respondents attested to this as well. More than a quarter of those who took PTO in the past 12 months, were contacted by a coworker (29%) and/or their boss (25%) about a work-related matter while on vacation.
Reason #4: Women especially need to be more proactive about taking time off because we’re less likely to get R&R.
Female employees ages 18-34 who receive vacation/paid time off (77%) were significantly less likely than male employees of the same age (93%) and older females age 35-64 (95%) to say they took vacation/paid time off in the past year. Self-care is something that all employees, especially women, need to hone in on. Sure, climbing the ladder as a young professional requires sacrifice, but striking a work-life balance by taking PTO is essential for success.
Reason #5: Taking PTO is harder the more money you make, and the more responsibilities you have.
Speaking of climbing the ladder, one of the sacrifices those in upper management make, unfortunately, is not having the opportunity to take a disturbance-free vacation. The survey revealed that the more money an employee makes, the harder it is to truly unplug. In fact, the expectation is that those who earn more will be constantly connected. While on vacation/using paid time off, employees with a household income of $100K+ are more likely than those with a household income of $50-$74.9k to indicate that they are expected to stay aware of work issues and jump in only if things need their attention while on vacation/using PTO.
Reason #6: If you burn out from not taking time off, you may be more likely to look for a new job…and use PTO to do that.
Not only should employers know this, but those in the workforce should be aware that failing to take adequate PTO can result in burnout. Emotional exhaustion and mental stress can make one job seem unbearable, and perhaps push employees to the breaking point. As a result, some of the respondents revealed, over 1 in 10 (12%) employees used their vacation/paid time off in the past 12 months to interview for another job.
Reason #7: Your family will thank you.
Putting down your iPhone and leaving your laptop at home during vacation will be much appreciated by your family and friends. After all, while you think that you’re sneaking to send a quick email or field a phone call or two, your loved ones see that you’re multitasking during family time. 14% of respondents said a family member complained that they were working while on vacation (up from 9% in 2014 survey). This is much higher among employees with a household income of $75K+ than those with a household income of less than $75k.
Trust us, set your out of office reply and check out. A nice, long vacation will recharge and re-energize you!