According to a 2014 study, 40% of workers were not using all of their paid time off. Employees polled said they were simply too busy for a vacation or felt guilty taking time off for work.
Even those that do utilize their time off often continue to work while on vacation. The ability to constantly access technology has created an unspoken expectation to continue working anywhere and at any time. This expectation can come from higher management, or be our own. The result is no true time away from the stressors of work.
This workaholic mentality is not sustainable, and can be detrimental to one’s health and productivity. Not taking extended breaks negatively impacts physical health, and also increases the likelihood of experiencing mental and emotional disorders, such as anxiety or depression.
Taking a vacation also has been shown to increase productivity. Plan a “reset vacation”, which incorporates relaxation with learning something new. Learning to surf, going on a guided hike, or taking an art class are examples of fun activities that promote relaxation and boost both health and motivation.
Vacations have such a positive impact on the rates of productivity and work ethic that some companies pay their employees to take time off. These forward-thinking organizations recognize the relationship between completely unplugging to recharge and excelling in the office. The results they have seen include happier, healthier, and more productive teams and an increase in retention.
The bottom line? Encourage employees to take their full time off. The health benefits alone make a great case to schedule a vacation, or just a week off at home. The only thing that you need to do is to shut off your work email, detach yourself from never-ending duties, and enjoy your time away from the daily grind.