Why Encouraging Employees to Take Vacation Matters


Entrepreneurs know what it means to put their nose to the grindstone and work hard to realize their dreams. It’s easy to get caught up in meeting daily business needs that never stop, and it’s more difficult to realize when you need to stop and take a break.

Leaders must be examples for their employees, as 75 percent of American workers don’t take their full vacation time because they don’t want to miss out on important decisions or work that piles up. They may fear a negative review from their boss. Many employers also fail to motivate employees to take time off because there are other business matters of concern. However, many HR departments believe that encouraging employees to travel increases job satisfaction, productivity, performance and engagement.

Employees Who Travel Are Happy at Work

Your concern for the well-being of your employees is important in helping them maintain a healthy work-life balance, avoid burnout and be happy at work.

In the last 15 years, American workers have lost nearly a week of vacation, and statistics show that taking time off results in greater happiness at work and home, more success on the job and lowered stress levels. Employee happiness at work directly impacts productivity.

Employees Who Travel Are Productive

Employers and employees who aren’t taking time off — at least once in a blue moon — get stressed out, which can lead to burn out. If you’re in a room full of stressed out coworkers, that stress is palpable and second-hand stress is contagious, which means that workers coming home with this weight are also burdening their families.

Laughter is a better contagion. Let employees have time off to laugh with their families and return ready to be productive.

When employees are anxious and can’t focus on work, their productivity, of course, falters due to not getting a break. An Expedia report found that 85 percent of those who returned to work from vacation were happier and ready to step up to the plate. Europe leads in happier employees, and Europe is also a country where vacations are considered more of a right than a luxury.

Speaking of other countries — vacations can also boost employee creativity by exposing them to new environments and encouraging thinking outside the box.

Employees Who Travel Perform Well

There is a myth surrounding the idea of the “best” American worker, and that’s that they’re constantly in the office. In reality, low performing employees have been found to actually take substantially less vacation time than high performing employees — 14 days, as compared to 19 days, on average.

Even more astounding is the fact that 70 percent of employees didn’t take PTO time in 2016, and there was a total of 600 million vacation days that weren’t used last year.

That’s wasted money, only to waste more energy and performance from employees. The data is clear: Employees who take off more time perform at their best, find greater satisfaction and well-being and keep the economy healthy.

Employees Who Travel are Engaged

Many employees fear taking time off because they don’t want to upset the boss or their coworkers. This attitude negatively affects work culture and professional relationships.

84 percent of managers see a productivity increase after taking a break, but 17 percent felt that employees who take all their time off signal disrespect toward a good work ethic. Nearly two-thirds of American employees report their company doesn’t say anything at all about the importance of taking time away. Interestingly, 82 percent of small business owners who take vacation time report coming to work with more energy to focus on their duties.

money for travel

Employers should encourage more fun and teambuilding at work to give employees a break on the job. The myth of the hardworking American always having to be at the office to be productive must be debunked. Providing flexible work schedules and working from home are a few short-term ways to alleviate the risks of burnout.

Employees will benefit by encouraging each other to go on vacation and conduct self-care practices when needed. Vacation and rewarding oneself doesn’t mean going into more debt or being selfish — it’s healthy for the employee. It’s more important in the long-term for employees to take advantage of their allotted time off. After all, employees who travel are statistically shown to be happier at work, more productive, high performers and deeply engaged on the job.

Sarah Landrum

After graduating from Penn State with degrees in Marketing and PR, Sarah moved to Harrisburg to start her career as a Digital Media Specialist and a writer. She later founded Punched Clocks, a site dedicated to helping young professionals navigate the work world and find happiness and success in their careers.

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