WORK-LIFE BALANCE / APR. 08, 2014
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Many Americans Don't Use All Their Paid Vacation Time

Whether you spend a few days at home or head to a tropical location, you probably can't wait to plan your next vacation from work. These breaks give me something to look forward to -- an opportunity to get away for a week and explore new places. 

Most in my circle feel the same about vacations, and I always assumed that the majority of workers also cherished their time away from the office. However, according to a recent study published by Glassdoor, "only 25 percent of employees with paid time off took all of their vacation days last year."

Personally, I don't understand why anyone would leave vacations on the table. Even if they don't have the desire or the means to travel, you'd think they would jump at any opportunity to break free from their desks and still receive a paycheck. 

What's even more interesting about the study is that 15 percent of those with paid time off didn't take any vacation days last year. And among the group that did vacation, more than half admitted to working while away from the office. 

Approximately 2,000 adults participated in the survey. 

Why Skip Vacations?

After looking at the numbers, I can't help but wonder why anyone would pass on the chance to unwind if money wasn't an issue. I realize that some employees do not receive paid vacation from their employers, and it's understandable that they may need to work throughout the year. 

Referring solely to those who didn't take full advantage of their paid vacation time, I can only assume that they truly enjoy their work. And while many of us count the days to our next vacation, they might view time off as a "nice alternative," but not a necessity. 

To each his own, and I'm certainly in no position to tell others how to conduct their business. And since many employers don't require that their employees take time off, these workers can use their time however they please. 

But this raises another issue: Should employers encourage vacations, or at the very least, a few days off?

Importance of Employee Vacations/Time Off

Truthfully speaking, the majority of employers aren't going to stand in the way of someone who wants to work non-stop throughout the year. Yet, the benefits of time off are undeniable. 

For example, a study shows that middle-age men at risk for heart disease "who skipped vacations for five consecutive years were found to be 30 percent more likely to suffer heart attacks than those who took at least one week off each year."

Likewise, many career coaches agree that after a vacation, employees are re-energized and ready to tackle their assignments, which can boost productivity and job satisfaction, thus reducing a company's turnover ratio. 

So it would only seem logical, if you're an employer, to offer time off to your employees -- whether it's paid or not.

Some might be reluctant to schedule their time, and they might even believe that the office will fall apart while they're away. But in the end, vacations benefit the company and the employee. If they can escape for a few days and clear their mind, they'll return with a fresh perspective and renewed vigor. 

How often do you think employees should schedule vacations from work?

 

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