Most of us are allowed vacation days but sometimes there can be a sense of guilt associated with taking time off. U.S. workers only took 51% of the short time they were allowed off in 2014 . Many were worried about falling behind, losing out on promotions or irritating colleagues. But this reasoning may be flawed. Research shows that not only are vacations good for you but they also increase productivity meaning they’re good for the workplace too. Here we give you three top reasons why you shouldn’t feel guilty about taking a vacation:
Vacations are good for your health.
We’ve blogged before about the effects of stress on health before (XXX Link to HPA Axis XXX). Chronic stress puts a strain on your body and puts you at risk of ill health. Although all stress isn’t bad it’s important to know where to draw the line and how to take time out. A vacation offers your body a chance to turn off the stress systems, recuperate and repair. Studies show that people on holiday not only feel healthier but even have reduced cholesterol [2, 3]
Vacations make you happy.
Yes it may be obvious but it can be easy to forget in the face of a heavy workload. After vacation workers are less tense and more energised in work . Better yet, they tend to more satisfied with their lives in general when they return . Doesn’t a calmer, energised, and happier you sound like a good outcome for you and your work?
Vacations increase productivity.
Vacations are not only good for you but also for the workplace. Employees who take a vacation have lower levels of job stress and burnout, less absenteeism and see their work as less effortful than before the vacation [5-7].
But… there’s an important catch to remember if you want to see these benefits – a vacation should not just involve time spent out of the workplace but time off work as well. 61% of U.S. workers admit to working while on vacation and this can negate the good effects of vacation . In fact, people who spend a lot of time thinking negatively about work while on vacation end up more exhausted and disengaged when they return .
People who enjoy a work-free recuperative holiday, meanwhile, return happier and more satisfied even if they have a heavy workload on their return . This shows that it’s not enough just to leave the office, you also need to switch off when you take time off. Try not to think about all of things that annoy you in work, don’t log into your email unless absolutely necessary and limit your use of electronic devices. Don’t feel guilty about taking the time off you’re entitled to. Vacations are important for a healthier, happier, less-stressed you and your workplace.
1. Glassdoor, Q1 2014 Employment Confidence Survey. 2014.
2. Strauss-Blasche, G., C. Ekmekcioglu, and W. Marktl, Serum lipids responses to a respite from occupational and domestic demands in subjects with varying levels of stress. Journal of psychosomatic research, 2003. 55(6): p. 521-524.
3. de Bloom, J., et al., Effects of vacation from work on health and well-being: Lots of fun, quickly gone. Work & Stress, 2010. 24(2): p. 196-216.
4. Strauss-Blasche, G., C. Ekmekcioglu, and W. Marktl, Moderating effects of vacation on reactions to work and domestic stress. Leisure Sciences, 2002. 24(2): p. 237-249.
5. Etzion, D., Annual vacation: Duration of relief from job stressors and burnout. Anxiety, Stress, and Coping, 2003. 16(2): p. 213-226.
6. Westman, M. and D. Etzion, The impact of vacation and job stress on burnout and absenteeism. Psychology & Health, 2001. 16(5): p. 595-606.
7. Fritz, C. and S. Sonnentag, Recovery, well-being, and performance-related outcomes: the role of workload and vacation experiences. Journal of Applied Psychology, 2006. 91(4): p. 936.