Recently, I came across a news report that says Americans are not using their vacation time. 42% take no vacation time off at all, and a large number leave at least 5 days per year on the table. Furthermore, 46% of bosses take a pile of work on vacation with them. Why? Why would you leave vacation time behind or take a pile of work with you?
Of those surveyed for this report, here are the reasons why workers leave vacation time on the books:
- Too much work piles up while they are on vacay
- They believe no one else can do their job
- They don’t have the funds to go anywhere
- They don’t want to appear to be replaceable
- They believe they are showing more loyalty and worth to their company and job
Really? Work will be there every, single day. It’s not going anywhere. Does it matter that some tasks may be delayed a bit? Probably not. Do you think you are THAT irreplaceable? Do you think your company would simply shut down if they had to let you go? No! Everyone is expendable, and in today’s world, a lot of businesses can find someone to learn your job and do it for probably less than they paid you. You are no more loyal or worthy to your company than your co-workers who use their earned time off to re-set and refresh.
Here are the reasons I believe it’s imperative to use up ALL of my vacation time:
- To unwind from the stress of work
- To re-charge from drab winter weather
- To rebound from fatigue that results in diminished attentiveness
- To replenish the energy reservoir
- To experience new people and places, which refreshes the mind-set
And I believe some of these reasons are even more valid than they appear. Where I live, winter means cold temperatures, shorter days (sometimes it’s already dark when I walk out of work), and sometimes blustery, snowy, icy days. These all can take a toll on the energy levels, so getting away to somewhere warm and sunny can really help alleviate that.
So what can you do to get the most of your vacation days and make it less stressful to take a week or two away?
- plan in advance–commit and get your trip planned and booked
- inform work as soon as you know what days you will be out
- start organizing the job duties and prioritize those that have deadlines
- be sure you have a co-worker (or two) who can be cross-trained to cover for you
- communicate and delegate tasks that may not be finalized before you leave
- line up who will be house-sitting, watching the kids, feeding the pets, etc. in advance
- don’t wait until the last minute to pack, try packing a few items a day during the week before
- set your “out of office” messages, unplug, AND
- get to the airport, train station, port, bus station (or wherever you are departing from) in plenty of time so you can get the heck out of town and begin having a relaxing, fun time
Please don’t be one of the ranks who leaves their vacation days sitting on the table. Get out of the office and re-charge your batteries. However, if you are going to have unused time off, please don’t hesitate to contact my employer and offer to donate them to TLC Postcards! Well, time for me to go pack a few items–I’m leaving soon for my mid-winter re-charge!