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In Need of a Vacation? The Benefits of Vacation Time for Employers and Employees

Ah, vacation. A chance to unplug, get away from your to-do lists, and focus on self-care. Studies have shown that time away from the office is necessary for employees to maintain high performance and continued productivity. Vacations also promote well-being by reducing stress both in the body and mind.  

But the benefits of vacation time extend beyond the employee. Your time away also benefits the company as a whole.

Here are the benefits of vacation time for employees and employers.

Benefits of Vacation Time for Employees

The benefits of vacation time for employees have been proven over and over. For example, a recent study demonstrated that “predictable time off” increased work-life balance, collaboration, effectiveness, and job satisfaction. Vacation also boosts creativity

Especially important, taking a vacation—and detaching from work—allows employees to reduce symptoms of burnout, in turn boosting productivity and well-being, according to Psychology Today. Additionally, taking a vacation makes employees more resilient to workplace stress while increasing engagement and productivity.

Beyond these benefits, taking a vacation is simply good for your health. Studies have shown that the benefits of vacation time for employees include improved heart health. For example, in an oft-cited study published in Psychosomatic Medicine, 12,000 men at a high risk of heart disease were followed for 12 years. The study found a positive correlation between vacations and healthier, longer lives. On the other hand, for men who did not take days off, the chances of heart attack increased by 30%. 

Benefits of Vacation Time for Employers

Giving employees time off – and encouraging them to take vacation days – is also in the employer’s best interest. After time away, employees return rested and refreshed, transferring that improved well-being to the workplace through improved productivity and effectiveness.

But the benefits of vacation time for employees go beyond happier, healthier workers. They directly impact your bottom line.

In a recent Deloitte study, employers are found to have “a multifaceted dilemma, as the health and wellness of their employees become intertwined with the bottom line.” For example, in the U.S., lack of productivity caused by negative mental and physical health conditions produces a U.S. $1 trillion loss. In addition, employers should account for loss when employees aren’t at their best through mistakes, apathy, burnout, and decreased creativity. 

On the other hand, according to Corporate Wellness Magazine, by offering—and encouraging—vacations for employees, companies will reap both tangible and intangible benefits from employees who focus on their work-life balance. These benefits of vacation time for employees include improved recruitment and retention, improved productivity, increased motivation, increased workplace satisfaction, and reduced overhead.

However, employers won’t realize these benefits if employees don’t take their vacation days. Failing to unplug from work to focus on well-being and work-life balance can eventually brew a perfect storm for both companies and employees.

But Are Employees Taking Vacation? Where We Stand & Where We Need to Go

The U.S. has been dubbed the “no-vacation nation” by the Center of Economic Policy and Research, as it is the only advanced economy that does not mandate paid vacation, with the only exception being Puerto Rico. And the work, work, work attitude shared by many Americans causes most to leave vacation days on the table. 

In a recent study, over 80% of American employees stated that taking days off is essential; however, they don’t take the trip, creating banks of unused vacation. If Americans took their allotted vacation days, the “economic opportunity amounts to $151.5 billion in additional travel spending and two million American jobs.”

Some companies have allowed their employees to roll over days, often up to a certain number, or they have paid their employees for unused vacation days. For some employees, however, it’s a use-it-or-lose-it situation, creating frustration and added stress.

If your employee wellness and engagement are top of mind, it’s an excellent time to revisit your vacation policies. Think about how to incentivize your employees to take vacation moving forward. When drafting your new policies, draft with clarity in mind, and don’t forget to communicate to your employees—encouraging them to take their vacation days – you’ll both experience the benefits. 

Also, you may want to redefine vacation. In addition to including days for traditional 5-day or 7-day breaks, you may also want to encourage shorter time periods away from the workplace for employees to focus on family time, self-care, and caregiving. Demonstrate care by encouraging employees to prioritize their well-being. Now is the time to redefine your vacation policies, encouraging wellness and continued engagement. See how Cangrade can support the retention and strengthening of your talent here