Have you taken your summer vacation yet? Or planned it, at least? There are good reasons why you should take advantage of your vacation benefits.

Summertime, my bags are packed, the passport’s on the counter and in a few days I’ll be off on vacation. Today I look to my desk, I see files of projects, to-do lists still undone, and phone calls to make. I wonder…does it make sense to leave for ten days right now? Will I let down my co-workers, my clients? Can they get by without me?
Then my mind slips to a sidewalk café and I’m nibbling gelato in the warm breezes off the Amalfi coast. I think this makes so much sense.

Vacation from work allows the brain to rest, it rejuvenates energy and creativity, and it soothes the nerves. It is one of the healthiest things we can do to take care of ourselves. We come back to work with increased commitment and productivity. Yet, in the U.S., we are experiencing the phenomena of the incredible shrinking vacation.

What the numbers say

Many employees get no paid vacation and, for those that do, the average is 13 days, accrued only after two years of employment. And according to a 2001 study by Oxford Health Plans in New York, 18 percent of all workers say they are unable to use their annual vacation time due to job demands. In fact, in a recent study, 32 percent of the workers surveyed admitted they did not use all their allotted vacation. The downside of new technology is that we often take our work with us on vacation through cell phones and wireless connections worldwide thus remaining “on-call” even while we are at rest.

The fact that US employees get too little or no vacation compared to the rest of the western world is worry enough, but that our workers believe they cannot take the vacation they earn should be of grave concern to HR Directors.

Check out this article on how more vacation can foster better employees—and, conversely, how too little vacation time can backfire for the employee and the company. As we all embrace workplace wellness and encourage employees to take better care of themselves, we often overlook a health benefit we already have. “Take your vacation” should be the banner and campaign at every company health and wellness day. It a simple act that will have profound affects.
That said, I think I’ll go check the train schedule to Florence, Ciao!


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