Is it time to start putting in for vacations at the office? Surprisingly, a good amount of employees don’t take annual vacations, in fact, there are many employees that never take them! A new survey conducted by Harris Interactive for JetBlue Airways reveals that 57 percent of Americans will end the year with unused vacation days left on the table. Of those, most people will let 11 days go to waste—75 percent of the vacation they earned. More and more, when we do take vacations, we bring work along with us, still keeping us in the mindset we are trying to escape.
Skipping out on paid time off can have a detrimental effect on both your career and your health. “Research has shown that for every dollar of vacation benefits that employers provide, they get three dollars worth of productivity back,” says management psychologist Paul Powers, Ph.D., the author of Love Your Job. A study of more than 12,000 men at the University of Pittsburgh found that taking one week of vacation a year reduced the men’s risk of death from a heart attack or stroke by 29 percent.
By taking a good amount of time away from the stresses of daily life, we can get the break we need to return to our lives refreshed and better equipped to handle whatever comes. Vacations are good for more than just fun, take a look at some of the benefits shared on www.about.com by Elizabeth Scott, M.S.
- Vacations Promote Creativity: A good vacation can help us to reconnect with ourselves, operating as a vehicle for self-discovery and helping us get back to feeling our best.
- Vacations Stave Off Burnout: Workers who take regular time to relax are less likely to experience burnout, making them more creative and productive than their overworked, under-rested counterparts.
- Vacations Can Keep Us Healthy: Taking regular time off to ‘recharge your batteries’, thereby keeping stress levels lower, can keep you healthier.
- Vacations Promote Overall Wellbeing: One study found that three days after vacation, subjects’ physical complaints, their quality of sleep and mood had improved as compared to before vacation. These gains were still present five weeks later, especially in those who had more personal time and overall satisfaction during their vacations.
- Vacations Can Strengthen Bonds: Spending time enjoying life with loved ones can keep relationships strong, helping you enjoy the good times more and helping you through the stress of the hard times. In fact, a study by the Arizona Department of Health and Human Services found that women who took vacations were more satisfied with their marriages.
- Vacations Can Help With Your Job Performance: As the authors of the above study suggest, the psychological benefits that come with more frequent vacations lead to increased quality of life, and that can lead to increased quality of work on the job.
- Vacations Relieve Stress in Lasting Ways: It should come as no surprise that vacations that include plenty of free time bring stress relief, but research shows that a good vacation can lead to the experience of fewer stressful days at least five weeks later! That means that vacations are the gift to yourself that keep on giving.