When’s the last time you took a break? Hopefully not too long ago if you’re a Productivity Ninja, but probably a while ago, if you’re like the Americans who left an average of 9.2 vacation days unused in 2012. After all, work doesn’t wrap itself up when you’re in the Bahamas sipping a martini.
Still, you’d want to take time off whenever possible. If you think a vacation interferes in any way with your job, these facts and numbers might make you think again.
1. You’ll do Your Body a Favour
As Sue Shellenbarger writes in The Wall Street Journal, vacations are crucial to maintaining your overall health. By taking time off, you cut down your risk of heart disease, boost your body’s ability to bounce back from stress and keep your blood pressure stable.
2. You Improve Your Performance
Several studies have found a direct relationship between breaks and work performance. At Ernst & Young, for example, employees who take an additional 10 hours of vacation improve their year-end performance ratings by eight percent. Also, those who took regular breaks at work were able to perform with 13 percent more accuracy than those who did not take breaks.
3. You Give Your Brain a Break
Even when you’re at “rest,” your brain doesn’t stop working. Instead, it takes advantage of your downtime to replenish your energy, creativity and other resources essential to your ability to perform.
4. You’ll Feel Better About Your Life
Breaks don’t just benefit your physical health. When a group of employees were surveyed about vacation time, 40 percent felt more productive after taking a break, and 50 percent felt better about their personal lives as well. That’s two birds killed with one stone!
5. It’s Good for Your Company
Believe it or not, good companies want you to use your paid vacation leave. Aside from the fact that you’ll return happier and more productive, you’ll also prevent your company from accumulating unused vacation time — which, during the period spanning 2014 and 2015, reached $224 billion worth of liabilities.
6. You Might Increase Your Chances of Getting Promoted
Vacations may boost your performance, but can they boost your chances of promotion too? Luckily, the answer is a resounding “Yes!” In fact, employees who use up all their paid vacation days have a 6.5 percent better chance of getting promoted than those who leave 11 or more unused vacation days. Considering the overall cost of the latter to a company, this isn’t really surprising.
Taking a vacation does not mean you’re lazy. It means you’re smart enough to realize that time out of work is just as important as time in. You should also remind yourself that the office building won’t collapse because you’re on holiday,but it’s all a matter of how you wrap up before your holiday.
Mark your calendar, take your well-deserved vacation and watch your performance ratings rise.
By Sarah Landrum