Some employees enjoy taking vacations so much, they’re willing to buy an extra week or two, but everyone doesn’t function that way. In fact, a 2015 study commissioned by the U.S. Travel Association determined the average worker leaves nearly five vacation days — an entire week — per year untouched, resulting in nearly $52.4 billion in lost benefits per year.
On the surface, it may seem great to have staff members so committed to their jobs, they voluntarily forfeit vacation days, but dig a little deeper and you’ll realize this actually isn’t a good thing. Unlike machines, your employees can’t work non-stop and continue to produce high-quality output. If you want them to do their very best work, you must gently-yet-firmly encourage each and every person on your team to use all of their paid time off.
3 Advantages of Taking a Vacation
It doesn’t matter if they escape to a tropical island or enjoy a staycation at home, your employees need a vacation to realize these three benefits.
Recharge and Refocus
Even the most resilient people have limits and can only work so hard before experiencing burnout. Productivity levels suffer when employees are so mentally and physically exhausted they can’t think straight. Taking a vacation allows them to relax their minds and recharge their batteries, so they come back refreshed and ready to tackle their workload with a new perspective.
Working all the time can cause serious health problems. A study of 13,000 middle-aged men, conducted by researchers at the State University of New York, found those who didn’t take a vacation for five consecutive years were 30% more likely to have a heart attack than their peers who vacationed for at least one week annually.
Simply put, fatigue stifles creativity. It’s difficult — if not impossible — for an employee to come up with new ideas when overworked and stuck in a rut. People feel alive when they experience new things, which reignites their imagination and sense of originality. When life becomes too mundane, it’s hard to see the big picture, but one’s vision becomes much clearer when they switch up their routine.