There are many reasons why you or your employees may be tempted to skip out on vacation days such as the fear of falling behind at work or feeling like you just don't have the time but the reality is that it's essential for not only your personal life but for your career as well.
Taking time off of work will improve your productivity and focus which is not only beneficial to you but also for your organization and team. It's important that you're urging your employees to take their vacation time for these benefits as well. Additionally, this will help improve team morale and your retention rate. A survey by SHRM has found that 78% of human resources directors indicated that team members who took more vacation days reported higher job satisfaction. Also, taking time off will improve your physical and mental health, enhance innovation and more.
Below are 5 benefits that come from actually using your vacation time.
Vacation Time Improves Your Physical Health
First and foremost, using your vacation time has been proven to improve physical health and choosing to skip out on it has consequences. Overworking can put workers at an increased risk of health issues such as stroke, cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, insomnia, depression, anxiety, and other stress-related illnesses. A nine-year study followed more than 12,000 middle-aged men at high risk for heart disease. The study found that those who took more yearly vacations were less likely to die from any cause, including heart attacks and other cardiovascular health issues.
Vacation Time Decreases Burnout & Increases Happiness
Using your vacation time doesn't only improve your physical health, it also improves your mental health significantly which can decrease risk for burnout and increase happiness. Vacations or taking time off of work will make you feel recharged and less stressed, which are two key components for avoiding burnout. Constant exposure to stress can actually alter your brain structure, increasing your risk for anxiety and depression. According to a Gallup study, people who "always make time for regular trips" had a 68.4 score on the Gallup-Heathway's Well-Being Index, while less frequent travelers had a 51.4 score. Additionally, this study found that three days after vacation physical complaints, quality of sleep, and mood improve significantly compared to before vacation. Vacations are essential for you're mental health and overall wellbeing.
Vacation Time Enhances Innovation
It's no secret that stress can often stifle creativity and cause memory problems down the road. Not only does using your vacation time enhance productivity in the long run but taking time off can allow your creativity juices to flow and simulate innovation. Have you ever noticed that your best ideas come to you when you're in the shower or out for a walk? Your brain is able to consolidate information more easily when it's relaxed, making it easier for you to retain knowledge. When you return from a vacation or time off you may notice that you feel significantly more productive, creative, and focused.
Vacation Time Creates Mindfulness
A major benefit of taking a vacation is that it forces you to become more present. When we travel or shake up our normal routine, we're forced out of autopilot mode and have to engage with our surroundings more intentionally. This forces us to "wake up" and be more mindful which, in turn, benefits our mental wellbeing. According to a study by The Journal of Positive Psychology, there is a strong correlation between the effects that taking a vacation and meditating have on us.
Vacation Time Makes Your Team Stronger
The positive effects of taking time off work that were mentioned above such as increased productivity and innovation will not only help make your team stronger but it will also improve team morale. A happier team with a high retention rate will create a strong team that will work better together in the long run.
In order to have a more productive workforce, it's essential that you and your employees are taking time off and actually using your vacation time. In fact, it's been found that taking time off work can improve productivity by as much as 80%. It's important to make sure you're utilizing your time off sooner rather than later, because once you experience burnout it can take up to 5 years to recover. So, go ahead and put that time off on your calendar and not only will it help yourself, it will help your team and organization as well.