(photo taken by me at Cocoa Beach, near Orlando last May)
In chatting with a friend recently, she let on that her husband has 17 weeks (that’s weeks, not days) of vacation owing to him at his current company. My former HR Manager self wondered how that could even be possible with most companies restricting the amount of vacation you can carry over from one year to the next. It seems, in smaller companies with no HR Dept, this is not unusual. And it seems that her husband is not alone. Not taking vacation is an epidemic at an all time high, especially in North America (just google the topic for references.) And the interesting fact is that Canadians receive a vacation allotment much less than other countries, especially those in Europe. I don’t know about you but when I worked in the corporate world I used up my vacation days each year. I also advocated for the four day work week at one employer. There are a number of reasons why people carry over their vacation year after year without using them but I want to focus on why it’s so important that people take vacation each year.
- Your mental and physical health requires it.
Depression and anxiety are at an all time high in Canada. There is a long-running statistic that one in five Canadians will experience depression in any given year. According to CMHA, mental illnesses cost Canadian employers billions of dollars in absenteeism or sick days, coming to work even when the employee can’t function well, disability and other benefits, and lost productivity. Vacations contribute to more positive emotions like happiness and decrease anxiety and stress.
In addition, taking annual vacations has been linked to a decrease in heart disease as stress is a major contributor. Bonus – taking vacations keep you young as chronic stress definitely ages you.
My friends at Expedia.ca sent Maya and I to Orlando for a mini vacation at a time when we sorely needed it. It was so wonderful to be out of our normal environment in beautiful surroundings. We came back spiritually and emotionally refreshed. You can read more about that here.
- You actually improve your creativity and productivity.
I remember reading somewhere that your creativity improves while you are physically traveling, whether in a plane or a car and I can speak from experience that this is so true. I always take a notebook when flying and I find that with quiet time and nothing really to do, the ideas are free flowing. Also, sometimes your best ideas come when you unplug, lying on the beach or by a pool, notebook in hand.
And you return to work refreshed, more productive and ready to take on the world again. People also tend to sleep more and have better quality sleep while on vacation thus contributing to their increased energy levels.
- You improve relationships.
It has been shown that people who take vacation are more satisfied with their marriages/partners as they feel more connected and content. Families who vacation together have more togetherness, communicate more and share experiences all of which have a positive impact on well-being and relationships.
- For employers, additional benefits are a stronger workplace morale and increased job satisfaction and employee retention.
All of the benefits mentioned above mean good news for employers. Ensuring that your employees are taking their earned vacation days off annually will increase your bottom line – and that’s a good thing.
Don’t we all? If you are looking to plan a vacation, expedia. ca has “winter deals” which you can see here. I don’t know about you but this cold weather has me thinking that a Christmas getaway to a beach may be in order.
Any plans to travel this winter? Let me know your top winter destinations in the comments.