With the holidays brewing, some employees are taking a day off to handle the errands, shopping, and to do lists that accompany this time of year. Yet even more hesitate to do so as they worry that taking the day off will put them further behind.
It turns out, they couldn’t be more wrong.
Study after study has shown that never taking a break will force your brain into fatigue-mode, making easy tasks difficult, ideas harder to come by, and overall productivity spiral downward. Employers have found that employees who can achieve a sustainable work-life balance work harder, are more productive, and are typically more satisfied with their jobs.
And the benefits don’t stop there. According to this U.S. Travel Association-commissioned study by Oxford Economics, taking vacation time is not only good for work, family, and personal life, but also for the economy as a whole.
“We seem to be wired to put the pedal to the metal, but there are also undeniable benefits to tapping the brakes,” said Roger Down, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association in the study. “Leaving just one day less on the table…would mean $73 billion in output for the U.S. economy and lead to significant positive impacts for employees and businesses.”
Not to mention all the stuff you’d finally get done around your house.
Despite the benefits, each employee leaves an average of 3.2 PTO days on the table each year. That’s over 429 million days in 2013 alone. Based on the study, 40% of American workers wanted to take more time off, but their heavy workload got in the way. That being said, it’s hard to tell if it’s the job, or the American work ethic, that prevents US employees from taking all the time off they are allotted.
If you know it is beneficial, how, as an employer, do you encourage employees to take time off? Some companies have answered this question with a “Use It Or Lose It” policy, which requires all paid time off to be cashed in prior to the end of the year. If a policy like this is not in place, the onus is on management to convey the importance of taking leave by encouraging employees to take days off and halt attempts to contact employees while they are away from their desks.
As an employee, even though time off is good for performance and a part of the benefit package, it can be hard to take it. Power through. Have the conversation with your manager, figure out what type of day-off strategy works for you and the team, and maintain a no-email policy while you are out of the office.
With the end of the year around the corner, now is the time to commit to a better work-life balance in 2016, which means making the most of the time you have, whether you are at work or at home or somewhere very warm with a beach.
When was the last time you took the day off?