The numbers are staggering.
According to GfK Market Research, in 2015, more than half of American workers (55 percent) left a combined 658 million vacation days unused. Since 2000, vacation days used have been declining. In 2015, workers took an average of 16.2 days off, compared to 20.3 days pre-2000.
The impact has been well documented. Workers who do not take their vacations to recharge their batteries are not as productive as workers that do take the time. Vacationers report greater happiness in their jobs, their personal relationships with co-workers and their overall mood.
In response to the issue, Project: Time Off has identified January 31 as the day of planning for vacation. There is a widespread communications effort to encourage management and workers to get away from the workplace. According to P:TO leaders, people are more likely to take time off if they take the first step — planning a vacation.
So, if the days are available and the benefits are well documented, why don’t workers take the time? The response is we have developed a culture whereby skipping out on vacation is the norm. The top response is 37 percent said they don’t use their time because they fear returning to a mountain of work and stress — defeating the purpose of a vacation. Other significant responses include a feeling that no one else can do the job, workers want to be seen as dedicated,and irreplaceable, and the longer one is in a job, the more difficult it is to take time off. The culture also includes worker perception that taking time off is frowned upon by management and colleagues.
Corporate productivity expert Maura Thomas wrote in the
Harvard Business Review. “While senior leaders may understand intellectually that paid time off improves their employees’ performance, that can get overshadowed by a stronger (and often subconscious) belief that more work equals more success.”
Project: Time Off
So how is the issue best addressed? According to the non-profit organization Project: Time Off, two factors are key. First, management needs to promote an atmosphere whereby workers take their allotted time. But just as important, workers need to plan a vacation. If workers do not plan vacations, they are less like to use their allotted time (39 percent vs. 51 percent). Once the effort is made to plan a vacation, the data shows there is a commitment to follow through on those plans. In addition, the planning experience tends to build excitement for the travel.
As a business focused on helping people experience our world, Acendas Travel enthusiastically supports the concept of vacation planning. If fact, we have some of the best travel advisors around. So, use Jan. 31 — National Plan a Vacation Day — as the impetus to get away and enjoy life.
About Acendas Travel
Acendas Travel is an award-winning, nationally-rated top 50 travel technology company with 35 years experience delivering industry-leading corporate travel solutions, full-service meeting/incentive support and customized vacation/leisure travel planning. Its success has been built on a foundation of unmatched expertise, outstanding customer service and the latest technological innovation to enhance the travel experience. Based in Kansas City and Minneapolis, the Acendas team offers a network of dedicated professionals throughout the United States to serve every travel need.
Visit Acendas at www.acendas.com or acendasvacations.com and connect on LinkedIn and follow on social media platforms for corporate (@acendascorp, facebook.com/acendascorporate) and vacation (@acendastravel, @facebook.com/acendas, www.pinterest.com/acendas).