t’s almost the official first day of summer.
But down here in the south we’ve already moved on to this glorious season – the sun is out, school is out, and mosquitos are out.
Which means it’s time to talk about vacations.
It’s pretty much fact that America is a “no vacation nation.”
This Washington Post recently noted that employers are not required to give staff paid time off (PTO) like many of our peer nations. And when businesses do offer PTO, a lot of people don’t use it. That article shares some pretty scary vacation statistics – from Americans leaving 768 million PTO days on the table in 2019 to 70% of folks still checking in at work while on vacation (that’s not how you vacate, people!!).
But it’s also fact that vacations are very important for our well-being.
Studies show that people who take vacations are physically and mentally healthier. They have fewer heart attacks, sleep better, and are less likely to struggle with depression and anxiety. They also report stronger relationships with their family and happier marriages compared to their work-bound counterparts. (Source: Alliana Health.)
If those aren’t good enough reasons for you to start packing, research shows that productivity and creativity increase over 30% when staff take vacations. Thus, people who take vacations are 6.5% more likely to get promotions and raises. That’s right – taking a vacation can IMPROVE your position at work. (Source: Harvard Business Review)
And in case you’re worried that these are just a bunch of statistics that don’t actually matter to your manager – have no fear. Studies also show that managers are very aware that happy staff make for improved business metrics. In fact, a poll of managers shows that they believe that staff who use their PTO are happier and more productive. (Source: Harvard Business Review)
The point is that vacations have a lot of benefits – from your health to your relationships to your job. In fact, vacations are so healthy for you, just planning one causes all of these same benefits! (Source: Alliana Health)
Beware: not all vacations are created equal.
Stressful vacations (aka poorly planned vacations) negate most of these benefits. So if you are motivated to start planning and packing, check out this article from Harvard Business Review for tips on planning a fun and impactful vacation!
Why I am Writing About This
We at Successful Nonprofits® work hard to live by our values. And we value a good vacation. In fact, earlier this year our small team made a list of all of our priorities. Taking vacation is number 3 (after legal & tax compliance and supporting each other). So, my urging you to take a vacation comes from a firm belief that we all benefit when we take a little time for R&R.