Have you ever turned down your vacation days at work in an effort to impress your boss? If so, you’ve got it all wrong! Researchers recently determined that vacationing more is actually an overall positive career move.
From 1978 to 1993, Americans enjoyed an average 20.3 vacation days each year. But starting in the year 2000, Americans started to take fewer and fewer vacation days. In fact, in 2015, Americans took only 16 days of vacation on average, found Project: Time Off.
Turns out it’s not our bosses who are to blame: The study found that more than half of the American workers surveyed intentionally left their vacation days unused. The study’s author suspects workers worry that they’ll look lazy or fall behind on the job, or they think that by leaving the days unused they’ll impress the boss.
Why taking a vacation is good for you
But the truth is, taking time off is far better for productivity than slaving away and putting your brain into overdrive. A day off here and a day off there from the office can improve your concentration, while long breaks boost your motivation. “The impact that taking a vacation has on one’s mental health is profound,” said Francine Lederer, a clinical psychologist in Los Angeles told ABC News. “Most people have better life perspective and are more motivated to achieve their goals after a vacation, even if it is a 24-hour time-out.”
Giving up your vacation days might even be the reason you haven’t been promoted. In the Project: Time Out study, one interesting realization was that employees who take 10 or less days of vacation time are less likely to have received a raise or bonus in the last three years than those who took 11 days or more. This is likely because your work performance suffers the fewer days off your take, and the more likely you have been noticeably burning out. Instead of skipping out on vacation days, try these smart strategies to build trust with your boss.
The takeaway here: Vacationing is not only great for your personal health and wellness, it also plays an important role in making you a better employee. And the great news is, you don’t have to book a week off and worry about getting behind. Instead, take single days off throughout the year to go to your kid’s recital, relax at home, or spend a day at the park. You’ll quickly realize that taking time off makes all the difference.