Why you should use all your vacation time

Career Advice
JC Cornell

By JC Cornell
July 19, 2022

June 6, 2024

0 min read

Considering skipping your vacation time this year?

Rethink that decision.

Neglecting to take a well-deserved break can adversely affect both your mental and physical health.

Some worry about promotions. They fear missing out. Others dread falling behind in their tasks. There are those who save vacation days for later.

Each has a reason to hesitate on taking time off.

Additionally, the financial aspect of planning a trip can be daunting, influencing the decision to reschedule later.

However, while understandable, these concerns shouldn't deter you from utilising your break. Taking time off is crucial for both mental and physical health.

It has been shown to enhance job performance and significantly contribute to career advancement.

What is vacation time?

Vacation time in an office setting refers to the designated period employees are entitled to take off from work, ensuring a well-deserved break from their daily job responsibilities.

It's a vital aspect of the work-life balance, promoting rest, relaxation, and personal time away from the professional environment. This time off is not only a benefit provided by employers to support employees' mental and physical health but also serves as an opportunity for staff to recharge, leading to increased productivity and job satisfaction upon their return.

Companies often outline vacation policies in employment agreements, highlighting the amount of time off available and the process for requesting vacation days to ensure a smooth operation while prioritising employees' wellbeing.

Here are a few reasons why taking a break is so important.

Getting relaxed, recharged, and refreshed

Woman relaxing by the sea

Let’s start in the most obvious place: holidays help you recharge. You need time to refresh, and one of the best ways to remain productive is by taking time off.

Holidays are also extremely important because they help you learn how to relax. If you lack this skill, it may be tough to handle stress down the road. By taking time off, you train yourself to destress.

Additionally, if you push yourself beyond exhaustion, you may become distant and less caring. All emotions you should avoid bringing to work.

Disconnecting fully from work (no emails on the beach, please) allows you to unwind, relax, and recharge.

Show your value to coworkers

We all know people who think no one else can do what they do at the office. That person is usually the last person to take a break.

Well, we say, “Prove it!”

Take a break and let others carry your workload. How else will your coworkers ever realise how valuable your contribution is?

Stop feeling bad about leaving the office too long because you think your team might be lost or overwhelmed.

Instead, this is an opportunity to train coworkers to cover your absence and allow them to appreciate all the work you actually do.

Help you get that promotion

No one performs their best when exhausted. Skipping vacation to climb the corporate ladder faster is beyond ineffective. In fact, studies have found that working long hours without a break doesn’t get you ahead at all. This behaviour actually has the potential to stall your career.

Project: Time Off study has found that employees who take a break are more likely to get promoted and get a raise.

Maybe workers who feel less guilt about taking time off are less stressed when they are away.

Likely, the same confidence that allows workers to feel justified in taking a break also helps them succeed at work.

Either way, constant worry about taking a vacation can only negatively affect your career.

Helps your health

Not taking a break to recuperate creates the risk of burnout, lower job performance, sleep deprivation, sickness, and even depression. In addition, stress is linked to headaches, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and infections.

Wanting to avoid all of these is argument enough to take a vacation.

A study published in 2001 by Psychology & Health found that among blue-collar workers at an industrial plant in Israel, levels of absenteeism in workers fell for four weeks following a vacation.

So stay healthy and take breaks when you know you need them.

Not taking a vacation could cost you in the long run

Some companies have a “use it or lose it” policy regarding holidays. This means that any vacation you don’t take this year cannot be carried over to the following year.

So not only are you missing out on the relaxation time, but you are missing out on being paid not to work!

Invest in your work life balance. Time with friends and family is as important as times at work. 

You need to remember that if your vacation is a paid benefit, it adds to the overall value of your salary.

If you aren’t taking those days, you miss out on paid employee benefits your company gives you to stay healthy.

Stimulate innovation

When your brain can think clearly, productivity and creativity increase.

Refresh your perspective while relieving your brain of stress. Often the simplest (and most obvious) solutions to complex problems are found when we relax.

Taking time away from work can help get the creative juices flowing. Bill Gates is famous for his ‘think’ weeks. Kevin Systrom came up with the idea for Instagram while on vacation in Mexico.

Drew Houston thought of the idea for Dropbox while travelling.

Take that holiday. You could come up with your next big idea!

A short break can be as good as a long one

Longer breaks aren’t necessarily better than shorter ones. The ideal trip to boost your well-being allows you to recharge. Even a few moments of deep breathing with your eyes closed can reduce blood pressure.

As long as you are taking a break from your regular routine, maybe engaging in activities you haven’t done before, then even a staycation will do the job.

Make sure you don’t spend vacation time running errands – it may be a break from work, but it isn’t a break from stress.

Take time to smell the roses.

Has your job search been on your vacation time?

Sometimes, the best time to apply for a new job is after you return from your trip.

But even if you’re perfectly content with your current job, keeping an ear open to new opportunities is always a good idea.

Keep your job search going strong all year long with Airswift and register for our candidate portal to discover the latest technology and engineering jobs near you.

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