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The Importance Of Taking Time Off Work

Nov 21, 2017 by Cheryl Spriggs

With so many holidays crammed into the next three months, you may find yourself stressed trying to complete everything before the year wraps. Even the idea of taking more time off to refresh may seem impossible.

But  during the holidays, how often are you working? Do you find yourself answering phone calls while wrapping gifts, or slipping into your work inbox in between cooking meals?  Aside from this standard time off, you need a vacation all your own to step back and truly refresh. Only about 54% of employees utilized their eligible vacation and paid time off in the past year according to Glassdoor. Taking time off has been a challenge for workers, but may be heading towards a more positive direction because of a change in workplace attitudes and how vacation time is handled.

How Taking Time Off Affects Your Health

Working too hard until you become sick or on the brink of an anxiety attack can happen to any of us, and you may not be realizing it. Whether you're amazing at multitasking and organizing your tasks, or a procrastinator when deadlines are about to hit, the stress of work can hurt our health.

According to a survey at the University of Pittsburgh's Mind-Body Center, people who had more leisure activities on their vacations reported more life satisfaction and found more meaning in life. From the findings of the survey, those who are engaged in more activities have lower blood pressure, lower stress hormones and smaller waists.

Next time you're debating on taking a break, take that extra day off and reap the benefits of lowered stress and higher overall satisfaction in life.

How Taking Time Off Affects Your Productivity

In the United States, we don't value leisure or free time as much as we could compared to other countries. With 40 hour work weeks, there are still long commutes, traffic, extracurriculars, and on-the-fly work related tasks that need to be completed after hours. We don't give ourselves enough breaks - even 30 minutes for a lunch isn't enough.

One of the biggest challenges about recharging your body and brain with time off, is making sure you're completely disengaged with work. According to an article from Entrepreneur, detaching from work with diversions at night reduces fatigue and promotes positive effects the next morning at work. Next time you take time away, find a new hobby or activity that can help prevent being engaged with work.

Taking time off can also lead to new ideas and room for creativity. Companies like Google are encouraging time off, even one day a week, to work on personal development according to Forbes. Encouraging yourself to take this time away from work will help you refocus on your goals, get along better with your colleagues, and improve your overall mental health.

How Taking Time Off Affects Your Workplace

There's always that one time of year that everyone in your office seems to get sick, right? You're constantly washing your hands, keeping all your things to yourself so you don't get whatever is going around as well. The healthier your workplace, the more productive and less stressed workers will be which will positively impact a business.

Workers may also hesitate to take time off for fear of what their colleagues and bosses may think. One way to avoid vacation shaming is to have a positive environment with open communication when someone is taking time away. The more transparency there is around employees taking vacations, the more likely a colleague will help you in your absence when you're away. After all, anyone who is taking time away is getting all the benefits of boosting their health and productivity to come back to the workplace refreshed and can impact your behavior as well.

How Taking Time Off Affects The Economy

Did you ever consider that not taking time off affects the economy?Those who are forfeiting vacation time are costing the U.S. economy $236 billion in 2016 due to lost spending according to Project Time Off. In this study, they also add employees are essentially giving back $604 in work time to their employer. Why not take that wasted money and put it towards your next vacation?

The tourism industry is depending on Americans to take vacations. 15.3 million jobs are supported by travel expenditures and 2.7% of nation's gross domestic product is attributed to travel and tourism found by the U.S. Travel Association. Project Time Off has found that we are taking more time off year after year, 16.2 days in 2015 to 16.8 days in 2016, which means we can help boost the tourism industry and economy overall.

While we are approaching the Thanksgiving holiday, it's a good time to start thinking about what kind of vacation you should take next. Whether it's a week off or just an extended weekend, keep in mind the benefits of why this time is so important to be away from work. Remember, focus on reenergizing your productivity and improving your health with any activities that will help you disengage from your job.

So where are you planning your next vacation? Do you have any tips of how to disengage away from work? Tell us in the comments below!

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