Back To Career News

Why You Should Take Your Paid Time Off

Forty-one percent of American workers don't take all of their vacation days, according to a study by the U.S. Travel Association, despite the fact that 96 percent of respondents recognized the value of taking time off. Without downtime, workers are less productive, less engaged, and just plain less happy at work. So why aren't we taking all our PTO?

Forty-one percent of American workers don’t take all of their vacation days, according to a study by the U.S. Travel Association, despite the fact that 96 percent of respondents recognized the value of taking time off. Without downtime, workers are less productive, less engaged, and just plain less happy at work. So why aren’t we taking all our PTO?

path to beach 

(Photo Credit: Aleksandra Boguslawska/Unsplash)

PayScale recently spoke with Cheryl Rosner, CEO of boutique hotel booking site Stayful.com, via email to discuss the phenomenon of the always-on worker and what managers can do to help them recharge.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

PayScale: Why don’t Americans take their Paid Time Off? Is it because they’re too busy at work, or because they fear that they’ll look less than dedicated to the job, or is there another reason at play?

Cheryl Rosner

Rosner: Culture plays a big part here. It is our culture to work hard and play later. Many Americans don’t take their time off by choice because they don’t want to miss out on “face-time” at the office. Thankfully this changing with the use of mobile devices and connectivity.

Nearly two-thirds of employees get mixed messages about taking time off (according to USTA) from negative to mixed to no messaging about PTO. While 40 percent of employees do not take all of their PTO, 45 percent of senior business leaders do not take their PTO, sending a message to their teams and companies.

PayScale: Why should managers encourage their reports to take their vacation time? (Other than just to be nice.)

Rosner: Taking time off is the best way to keep from burning out and good managers know that a well-rested team is a more productive team.

Even if workers don’t feel the need to get away, they can always use that time off to connect with their friends and family locally or work on a hobby at home. Breaking away from a routine is a great way for workers to come back with more clarity and a better mindset, which makes them more productive.

PayScale: What can managers do to make it easier for workers to take time off?

Rosner:

  • Managers need to first set the example of taking time off and being disconnected for most of that time.
  • Communicate PTO support and the reasons why. Make the “approval” for PTO easy.
  • Managers and all members of the team need to support their absent teammate by preparing for their departure and anticipating any needs while away.
  • Managers can also set expectations. For example, if the vacationing worker is off for a week, perhaps they agree to check in once or twice for a half hour while away to keep his/her projects moving smoothly.
  • It takes a team to deliver success and the same team to ensure each other are taking time off without stress.

PayScale: What do you think about “unlimited” vacation policies? Do you think these help or hurt work-life balance and productivity?

Rosner: Unlimited vacation days are the way of the future. At Stayful we offer this as a benefit so the team does not need to stress about the formalities. What is great about this policy is that we trust each other to be mindful of the workload and take the time off when needed and/or wanted.

Work/life balance is crucial to supporting the successful growth of every worker. For some people that means taking several Fridays off in the summer; for others, a full week off the grid.

PayScale: What would you tell workers who are afraid to take their vacation?

Rosner: I don’t think anyone at Stayful is afraid of taking vacation. For anyone that is afraid to take their vacation:

Tell Us What You Think

Does your employer encourage workers to take their vacation days? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
Read more from Jen

Leave a Reply

1 Comment on "Why You Should Take Your Paid Time Off"

Notify of
avatar
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Robbie Diaz
Guest
I used to be caught up in the work, work, work mentality until I took a transfer to our office in Finland. In the States I had 4 weeks of vacation but rarely took any of it. Over here (and yes, I stayed…) you get 4 weeks of summer holiday and 1 week of winter holiday and you are EXPECTED to take it. The first time I took 3 weeks of summer holiday in a row it was AMAZING…I was wondering why in the world I had not done this before! The next year I took all 4 weeks of… Read more »
wpDiscuz
What Am I Worth?

What your skills are worth in the job market is constantly changing.