Vacations Are Important For Your Bottom Line

business (2)Job related stress is universal.  Almost everyone has had job stress negatively affect them personally and professionally, sometimes on a daily basis.  Even people who thrive on it will admit there are times when it’s too much for them.  One of the greatest relievers of work stress is taking time off, whether it’s 1 day or 2 weeks.

And yet there were 429 million unused vacation days in the U.S. last year.  Many Americans don’t take enough time off – to their own and their company’s detriment.  Fore-going time off isn’t healthy, profitable or productive for people, companies or the economy.  It’s estimated those 429 days would have generated $160 billion and created 1.2 million jobs (mental_floss, July 2014).

It’s well documented that chronic stress takes its toll on the body: it decreases the ability to resist infection and maintain vital functions, increases accidents and injuries, creates sleep disturbances and can even negatively alter genetic material at the cellular level.  It’s equally well researched that chronic stress creates mental health issues: irritability, depression, anxiety, memory difficulties, poor decision making, social isolation, poor impulse control and loneliness.

Vacations help break the stress cycle by getting people out of their usual work schedules and habits.  Time away can be a 3 day weekend staycation or 2 weeks in Finland for the Air Guitar World Championships.  The essential part is to do something that’s a healthy break from the stress and routines of work.

A healthy break means different things to different people.  It can be: restful and recuperative, challenging and exciting, a religious pilgrimage, a decadent spa visit, seeing new cultures, or spending time with family and old friends.  It’s important to identify the desired benefits and how to achieve them before the vacation is taken, to be pro-active.

Unfortunately, vacations are often poorly planned and executed, too expensive and as stressful as the job people are taking a break from.  They don’t take time to think about what would be beneficial and what they actually need.  A little self awareness and planning can keep them from making the common mistake of needing a vacation from the stress of their vacation.

Every workplace has some form of stress, therefore, employers and employees alike can greatly benefit from time off.  Some companies have recognized this fact and made it mandatory for everyone to take all of their vacation time.   A mentally and physically healthy work force, capable of coping with workplace stress, goes a long way towards efficient productivity and successful profitability.