For those employees who take all the vacation time they are given, and often complain that they could use more, not taking vacation time may seem crazy.  Yet, a majority of employees, approximately 52%, do not take all their vacation time according to a report by Project Time Off, an organization that conducts research on travel behavior.  Their recent report (https://projecttimeoff.com/reports/under-vacationed-america/) reveals that 705 Million Vacation days went unused and 212 Million Vacation Days were actually forfeited.

            I spoke to a gentleman, recently, who told me that he was afraid to take his vacation.  He felt that his boss at the auto repair shop where he worked might replace him if he went on vacation.  I suggested that if that happened, it would probably be a good time to find a new job anyway.  I asked if it was likely he’d be fired, and he shared that had happened to another employee.  We talked about his options for finding a better employer.

             If your boss is so unpredictable and devious that you are afraid to take vacation, it might be time to bring up the pros and cons of staying at that job anyway.  As the unemployment numbers go down, the number of available jobs is going up.  Remember, every employee deserves to be valued and treated with respect.  I suggest that using vacation days is good for you and helps your employer have a satisfied employee.

            The unused vacation time issue even occurs at companies and non-profits where there is unlimited vacation time, yes unlimited vacation time.  In such places, the time taken is actually less time away from the job than in other places with standard and limited vacation time offered. Namely, a human resource computer platform company, conducted and published the results of their survey in HR Mythbusters 2017 Report (https://blog.namely.com/blog/what-data-reveals-about-unlimited-vacation).  Once again, it staggers the mine of those who want more vacation time.

            Is it good for the companies with under-utilized vacation days and, more importantly perhaps, is this good for the employees?  SHRM, the Society for Human Resource Management, shares that vacations are good for employees and their employers.  A restful vacation improves an employee’s mental health and, upon return to work, increases employee engagement, job satisfaction and productivity. 

            What else would encourage someone to leave vacation time on the table?  One concern is the work that piles up while away.  This is two-fold problem.  If your job is that stressful, taking a vacation to reduce stress doesn’t work.  Talking to your supervisor might be in order.  Employees are better employees when they have vacation, and anything that is preventing them from taking vacation might be worth discussing because chances are such a stressful amount of work is causing issues all year long.  As an employee you need to feel that your workload is manageable.

            Another complaint is that there is no money in the family budget to take a vacation.  That is probably why the word, staycation, was coined.   Doing leisure activities close to home is often easy and less stressful to the family budget.  There are volunteer opportunities that are fun to do as well.  Walking a dog for the local shelter, helping a friend or neighbor with yard work, going to an art gallery, a sports event or a library are all options to take time out of your normal routine.  Even a walk around the block or at your nearest state park can easily give you a renewed sense of relaxation and fulfillment.

            To vacation or not, there really is no reason not to take a vacation.  At least, no valid reason from the point of view health and well-being.  I always suggest that you have a picture of somewhere you like to be at your desk or place of work.  Just looking for a second at that picture impacts your mind and your body as memories of fun and peace flood your cells.   While a postcard vacation is surely not ideal, it might tide you over from vacation day to vacation day.  Vacation is time well-spent.