Taking time off work is often seen as a perk or hard-earned reward for great work. However, many people in the American workforce are hesitant to take days off even when the opportunity presents itself.
Graphic created by Hour Timesheet.
Vacations are not just an indulgence. According to research, PTO days are vital to good mental and physical health. In addition, they can have mood-boosting and productivity benefits that last well beyond the vacation length. Below are some of the numerous benefits of utilizing vacation days.
Employee burnout caused by overworking can lead to various issues that affect health and a worker’s production. For example, neuroscientists have linked chronic stress exposure to brain structure alterations and increased rates of anxiety and depression.
How can an employer or staff member tell if someone is not feeling their best? Typical signs may include not taking phone calls or checking emails, sudden mood changes, lethargy, and being mentally disengaged from work.
If an employee is feeling this way, why not take time off? According to a study, this decision might stem from a heavy workload, not being able to afford days off, the fear of pending layoffs, and the worry that taking time off will make an employee appear less dedicated to the company.
Vacations — even short durations of leave — can help combat health problems associated with stress, such as stroke and ischemic heart disease. As a person rests and enjoys their time off, feelings of calm arise and relieve the stress. Without feeling constant pressure, the body and mind are allowed to heal.
Research reveals that vacations are linked to lower rates of heart disease, reduced levels of stress, depression, and anxiety, and improved productivity. The study also found that employees who take regular time away from work see greater job and life satisfaction, report less stress and burnout and experience fewer health complaints such as back pain, poor sleep, and headaches.
How can managers encourage time off? To start, it’s advised to implement a modern leave-taking management system. Easy-to-operate and dependable, advanced software can simplify the process for everyone and make time-off requests less formal.
Another straightforward method is to modify and modernize leave policies. For example, vacation shaming is still prevalent in the workforce, as is an unhealthy work-life balance. By addressing outdated practices and encouraging a more balanced lifestyle, company culture could become more health-minded. Such changes may see better retention and higher productivity levels across the board.
Please see the accompanying resource for more benefits and additional ways to encourage employees to take a break.
Author Bio: Debbie Sabin is President of Hour Timesheet, a provider of software tools for small to medium businesses looking to improve workflow processes related to payroll, billing, or real-time reporting of their workforce. Sabin has over three decades of experience designing, implementing, and supporting employee time tracking software.