A whopping 67% of American employees are not taking all of their eligible time off according to a study by job site Glassdoor. In fact, the average U.S. employee (of those who receive vacation/paid time off) has only taken 54% of his or her eligible vacation time/paid time off in the past 12 months. When employees finally find time to vacation, they’re usually still checking email or dialing in for conference calls as two-thirds reported working while on vacation.
Why are so many employees leaving vacation days on the table? Many Human Resources experts concur that they’re are acting out of sheer fear—of being replaced, disconnected or falling behind. What they don’t realize, however, is that the results of not taking time to unplug, relax and restore can have serious, scary repercussions.
Here are three reasons why you should use all of your paid time off.
1. Health risks rise as hours worked increase– People who work long hours are more likely to suffer from coronary heart diseasethan those who work standard hours. Also, according to another study, when people worked more than 48 hours per week, they were more likely to engage in “increased risky alcohol use.” Lastly, researchers found that working long hours is a risk for factor for type 2 diabetes. Most Americans are already shouldering a heavier workload post-recession, so the need for time off is greater than a decade ago. Employees easily become fatigued after working long hours—day after day, week after week. What is the answer to this fatigue? Dale Carnegie says to, “Relax! Relax! Relax!”
2. You’ll survive your absenteeism– The top reasons Glassdoor survey respondents gave for not taking vacation were fear getting behind on their work (34%), believe no one else at their company can do the work while they’re out (30%), they are completely dedicated to their company (22%), and they feel they can never be disconnected (21%). On the other hand, leaders see value in allowing employees to take time off given that 91% of business leaders believe their employees return from vacation recharged and ready to work more effectively, so take the time!1
Truth be told, if you’re organized and/or a strong leader, you should be able to delegate tasks to co-workers or team members. In the Dale Carnegie Leadership Training for Managers course, leaders are taught a proven process for effective delegation. Consider enrolling in this course if you struggle with trusting others and delegating effectively.
3. Benefit from lower stress levels– Americans are more stressed, less paid, less healthy and less appreciated than ever before, according to a NY Daily News article. Dale Carnegie cautioned,“Remind yourself of the exorbitant price you can pay for worry in terms of your health.” Taking a vacation or using your personal days to do whatever you wish has also shown to correlate with lower stress and blood pressure levels, and even less weight gain.