4 Arguments in Favor of Taking Your Summer PTO
Going on vacation from work can be weird. You want to go, you’re excited about it and of course you’re entitled to some time off. But you feel weirdly guilty about it.
After all, Tom’s taking vacation right after you, and Susan is going the week before. The office will be short-staffed. So you compromise and do a “working vacation.”
Unfortunately, a working vacation, where you work while on vacation, prevents you from taking a real vacation. That simple fact alone can have legitimate consequences on your overall performance. Let’s look at why you should take your summer PTO, and actually be off.
It’s Not the End
It’s easy to believe that no one else can do your job. After all, that’s why the company hired you, because you’re the best at it! Or at least you’d like to think you’re the best at it. But let’s be realistic: If you’re working for a company that will come to a grinding halt because one person isn’t there, you’re not working for a good company.
An Oxford study found that only about 40% of American workers take their PTO. At least some of this is due to an idea of worker martyrism, or perhaps a feeling that you need to be at work. Another popular reason is the dread of catch-up work. This is a very real concept, and you might have a harder time getting around a pile of work waiting for you upon your return.
Consider working something out with a co-worker who could handle some of the load. According to the World Health Organization, stress and sleep deprivation cost employers over $350 billion per year. Vacations can cut into that, so not only should you take them, but your employers should encourage them and have systems in place to make taking them easy.
You’ll Work Better
Taking time off is important. Most people are familiar with the concept of burnout, where you get too stressed out about work to function well. A good solution for that is – you guessed it – vacation time!
A week off can be whatever you want it to be – no deadlines, no alarm clocks, no office politics, no hard labor. You can take the time to renew your dedication and focus. If you’re having any interpersonal problems at work, this could be a good way to cool down and put it back into perspective.
Taking breaks, especially long ones where you can completely unplug from work helps to lower stress, get more sleep and boost your productivity. Travel pushes you out of your comfort zone, helps you find inspiration and introduces you to new people.
You Should Take Extra Time
Try to schedule your vacations at times you wouldn’t normally have time off. Summer is good for this, because you don’t get much time. Sure, you get the 4th of July off, and some places may give you Memorial Day and Labor Day off. That’s a whopping 3 days.
Meanwhile, everyone who’s off on those days is trying to cram a week’s worth of vacation time into a 3-day weekend. This translates to angry people, drunk people and others who wish that whatever is happening on their trip wasn’t happening anymore.
All of these factors can make for some interesting circumstances, including dangerous ones. For instance, in 2013, 540 travelers died on the 4th of July. It’s so busy on the roads that traffic accidents are significantly more likely to occur. In addition, going into the office on those days won’t help much. Everyone else will likely be off, so you might be stuck with busy work.
Recharge With Family
When you were a kid, you wanted your dream job. When you were in college, you wanted a realistic job. Once you have a family, you simply want a job. Funnily, the job that should be most important is the one we tend to disregard: our families.
Taking one week off doesn’t tell your boss or your employees that you don’t value them, but it does tell your family that they’re important. This might be the simplest thing, but it’s probably the most important. Don’t forget that your family is the reason you work, so you should also work to spend time with them.