I have a question to ask you. Have you ever shrugged off the need of time off, to take a vacation? I mean a real one, not one where you check email. You are probably thinking you did it a couple of times. Did you take your laptop, just in case?
The fear of time off.
Unfortunately, the answer is that too many of us are skipping this life essential. Too many of us are worried that a vacation is a sign of weakness, and that if we’re taking time off, suddenly our company might realize that we are, in fact, replaceable. Like many fears, this is unfounded.
We also fear that work will only pile up while we’re gone. We feel that it’s somehow better for us to just keep working than to get out of the office for a few days. That results in most of us only using about half of the time off which we’re entitled to. An even more troubling statistic shows that about two-thirds of us are taking a vacation, but taking work with us.
Statistics on the side of time off.
Statistics are clear. The number of vacation days we’re taking has declined by about 4 per year since 2000. Unfortunately, the United States’ work policy doesn’t help. We are the only country that doesn’t require any paid time off, meaning vacation policies can’t even be enforced by federal law. This is just one of the differences between American and European businesses.
One change that can happen is for management to better support its workers in attempts to take real time off. That means rules which forbid contact with employees who are away. It also means letting employees know that not taking a vacation doesn’t make them any more likely to get a raise. In fact, it could result in poorer quality of work.
What taking time off does do is help people in countless ways. We’re happier, we feel less stress, and our mental outlook is improved. In fact, when we come back from a true vacation, we work harder and smarter.
Fortunately, our friends at Quill Café have produced a handy infographic to help you decide to take that long-delayed time off.