According to reports and surveys, Americans are working more than employees in any other country. Not only are we working more hours but we are not taking our vacation time. Is this due to employees being concerned about job security and career advancement? Could it be technology and the ability to always be connected? Interestingly, a study conducted by the Harvard Business Review and the U.S. Travel Association suggests that overworking reduces our performance levels and our ability to be more productive (https://hbr.org/2016/07/the-data-driven-case-for-vacation).
When did you take your last true vacation? When I say true vacation I mean, you pre-planned and scheduled a week off from work and disconnected. Taking a vacation while responding to emails, answering phone calls and trying to fit fun, relaxation, and family time ends up being stressful and chaotic and could actually increase stress levels.
Technology has definitely been an added benefit to allow for more flexibility and work life balance, but there is also a down side to always being available. We need to learn how to better manage our use of technology. At our office we forward emails automatically to a manger while an employee is on vacation. This allows for another individual to help the client in a timely fashion and our employees do not return to an overwhelming workload. (https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2017/01/07/overworked-americans/96235044/)
The study conducted by HBR and the U.S Travel Association indicates that people who used more of their vacation time actually have a higher chance of receiving a raise or bonus. This study also concluded that the unemployment rate doesn’t directly correlate with vacation time. When the unemployment rate was at its highest people were taking on average about four days more per year.
Our minds and our bodies need down time to rejuvenate and replenish. A vacation could provide your mind and body with some downtime and you could feel more energized, happier and help impact our economy.
So the time has come – start planning for your next true vacation!!!
~Sarah Galley, PAFM, SPHR