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Why Every Worker Needs a Yearly Vacation
Unlike every other developed country in the world, in the United States, there is no mandated number of days off for employees. In fact, approximately one-quarter of all workers in the U.S. get no paid vacation at all, and more than half of those who do, don’t even use the days off they earned, reports Project Time Off.
A study released by Travel Effect, Overwhelmed America: Why Don’t We Use Our Paid Time Off? found that many Americans suffer from a work martyr complex. The research revealed the reasons so many workers are letting their paid time off go unused. No. 1, cited by 40 percent, was the dread of returning from a vacation to piles of work, closely followed at 35 percent by the belief that no one will be able to step in and do their job; 33 percent said they couldn’t afford it, and 22 percent stated the fear of being viewed as replaceable.
But every worker needs a yearly vacation – it’s essential not only for health and well-being, but for productivity too.
Reducing Heart Attack Risk
The Framingham Heart Study, while conducted in the early ‘90s, still stands today. It showed that men who don’t take vacations had a 30 percent greater chance of suffering a heart attack. For women, it was even worse, with that number a whopping 50 percent. Even after taking into account other health indicators, such as smoking cigarettes, obesity and diabetes, those numbers held true and have been backed up by other research since.
Employees who don’t take a vacation every year are far more likely to experience burnout. It results in mental stress and emotional exhaustion, which ultimately means far less productive employees and a greater likelihood of physical illness too. Taking a mental break helps to reset, refresh and benefits business.
A generous vacation policy positively affects productivity. Ernst & Young research revealed that for every 10 additional hours of vacation time employees too, performance ratings at the end of the year improved by 8 percent. The healthier and happier your workers are, the healthier your business is likely to be, which means you may also want to provide employee wellness programs too, like memberships to the gym, healthy snack delivery, and even designating remote work days to give them a break from the office.
Taking an annual vacation may help to stimulate workers’ creativity in addition to improving performance and increasing productivity. Getting away from the day-to-day routine naturally stimulates those creative juices – something that Microsoft founder Bill Gates understood, famous for his “think weeks.”
Research has found that there are eight weeks of increased happiness before a vacation even starts, simply from looking forward to and planning what to do during that time off. Happy employees create a happier and more productive workplace too, which can be any company’s greatest asset.
Now that we’ve backed this up by science, where’s your next trip going to be?