Valuing Vacation: A Boost to Employee and Employer Alike
Ah, vacation. The word alone conjures memories of lakes, rivers, cabins, camping trips, Yosemite, the beach…just to name a few of my own. Those were the summers of my youth, those three glorious months off between school years. Alas, they had to end sometime. I have to say though, doesn’t it seem like the kids are living it right with all that free time to explore?
Well, that’s because they are. Though three months may be a little long for your standard employee, there are plenty of studies showing that a) vacation is good for productivity and b) we don’t take enough. According to Project Time Off, “More than half of American workers (55%) left vacation time unused in 2015. This adds up to 658 million unused vacation days.” Contrary to what some may think, this does not always benefit the bottom line.
Once again looking to Project Time Off, “the clear majority of managers agree that vacation improves health and well-being (82%), boosts morale (82%), and alleviates burnout (81%). Managers also believe in the benefits to the company: 78 percent say that vacation improves employees’ focus upon return; 70 percent agree it renews employees’ commitment to their job; and 64 percent feel it makes employees more willing to put in long hours when they are needed.” Some of the less tangible benefits may not be as obvious, but overall job satisfaction, workplace happiness, and work-life balance go a long way towards improving the longevity of employees.
I doubt I have to explain the benefits that time off to relax, unplug, and pursue other hobbies or interests can have on your life. Even taking a day off to explore your own town can help alleviate stress. If you read a previous post of mine on the SBC blog, “How to Spend Summer in an Office When You are a Dirtbag at Heart”, you might guess that I think the best way to rejuvenate is by spending time in the outdoors.
In fact, I’m on a plane right now, heading to the far northeast corner of Utah to guide a four-day rafting trip on the Green River. Thanks to the flexible time off allowance of SBC, I am able to continue pursuing one of my greatest passions, sharing the magic of a river canyon with others. I will come back to work on Monday with gratitude for the chance to explore, unplug, and spend time free of work related stress. I will also come back to work and harness my increased productivity to really dig in to projects and tackle everything I need to get done in the office.
It would be great if every company understood the importance of time off to its employees. The world, however, is not perfect. For the lucky ones who work for organizations that encourage employee happiness and time off (hint – non-profits are a good place to start!), let us take advantage of that time and get out there! Speaking of that, I’ve got to go, the plane is landing and the river is calling my name!