Today is Take Back Your Time Day, a day focused on helping us recover our personal time. Like many of you reading this, I tend to work more than I should. I bring work home with me – literally and figuratively. And I tend to not use all of the vacation time allotted to me. In fact, many managers don’t.
Do you know that the USA is one of the only industrialized countries without a standardized minimum vacation time (including paid holidays)? Scandinavian countries, France, and many countries in the Middle East mandate 23-28 paid days off annually. Australians get 4 weeks off plus 10 public holidays and Brazilians get 22 days off with a 33 percent salary vacation bonus.
But in the United States, most people only get about 10 days of paid time off (vacation and sick time) and an average of about 6 paid holidays. That’s a total of 16 paid days off annually. One study suggests that only 77 percent of US employers offer paid vacations and holidays meaning that more than 1 in 10 don’t! Another study by Harris Interactive suggests that US workers only use about 51% of their eligible paid vacation time and paid time off and 61% of Americans work while on vacation.
Why is it important to take vacation time? Quite simply – we burn out. It doesn’t matter how much you love what you do for a living (and you should love it) – eventually you will burn out.
Not taking time away from work also limits your ability to recharge your mind, body, and spirit. It’s proven that vacation time helps reduce stress, prevents heart disease, improves your sex life, makes you happier, strengthens relationships, and prevents illness. And these are just a few of the personal benefits.
There are similar benefits to a business. Employees who take vacation are happier at work, tend to have less tardiness, are more engaged, and make better decisions.
Why do we work so hard? Why don’t we take the time off we’re given and that we sorely need? The majority of us say it’s to avoid a mountain of work when we return from vacation. Other reasons include: no one else can do our job, we can’t afford a vacation, taking time off is hard as we grow our companies, we want to show dedication, and we don’t want to be seen as replaceable.
So go take back your time and celebrate a health lifestyle with us. After all, life is too short not to enjoy it.