5 Reasons Why All Employees Should Use Their Vacation Days


Family Enjoying Time on the Beach

With COVID measures deterring most of us from venturing far beyond our homes, it’s no wonder that over the past two years employees have been holding off on vacations.

According to Expedia’s annual Vacation Deprivation report, 55 percent of employees in Canada are feeling vacation deprived and a whopping 71 percent feel more burned out than ever.

The report also notes that one-third of Canadians left vacation days on the table. This may not seem like much, but collectively it represents 31 million vacation days that are left unused each year.

It’s a shame for employees to waste vacation days. Not only are they missing out on valuable time spent with loved ones exploring the world but they’re also losing out on serious benefits.

To demonstrate just how important taking a vacation is, The Burke Group has put together this list of 5 reasons why taking a vacation is necessary for employee survival.

Why should employees take a vacation?

Lowers stress

When we’re stressed, our bodies produce certain hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. In the short term, these hormones can be helpful by triggering the “fight or flight” response, which helps us deal with immediate threats. Over time, however, this physiological response can increase an individual’s risk for health issues like heart disease, anxiety and depression.

Taking a vacation allows employees to leave their everyday stresses behind and recharge. Even a short, three-day trip can do wonders! A small Japanese study found taking small trips was effective in reducing perceived levels of stress and reducing levels of the “stress hormone” cortisol.

Increases productivity & focus

Those who put in the longest hours aren’t necessarily the ones getting the most work done. Continuous work without breaks or vacations can make employees feel blocked or distracted.

Taking time off can help employees replenish their minds and work more productively. A study conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found 75 percent of employers reported seeing better performance from team members who took more vacation days than from those who took less.

Prevents burnout and increases mental & physical well-being

Constantly working can leave employees feeling burnt out. When this happens, even their most rudimentary tasks can feel impossible. Thankfully frequent breaks and regular vacations can help!

Nine-in-10 people in Canada report feeling more relaxed and less anxious after a vacation and about the same amount reported feeling more optimistic.

Studies also suggest that taking a vacation is key to your team’s physical health. For both men and women, taking a vacation every two years, compared to every six, will lessen the risk of coronary heart disease or heart attacks.

Improves creativity

When employees relax, they’re granted permission to tap into the creative parts of their minds that aren’t accessible when they’re stressed. That’s why some of the best ideas are thought of while on walks or vacations!

Bill Gates has been utilizing this concept for years. Each year he takes a Think Week to recover from the busyness of everyday life. With nothing but a series of books, Gates sits in an isolated cabin in the woods in hopes of considering new perspectives. In the past, popular Microsoft initiatives and products were born from ideas that originated during these retreats.

Helps improve sleep

Taking time off work helps break up bad habits that disrupt our sleep–like working late into the night or checking our phone before bed.

A study conducted by New Zealand Air asked participants heading on vacation to wear a wrist device that monitored their quality of sleep three days before their holiday until three days after their return. They also kept a sleep diary and were measured for reaction times before, during and after their trip.

Researchers found that after two to three days of vacation, participants averaged an hour more of good quality sleep and experienced 80 percent improvement in reaction times. When participants returned home, they were still found to be sleeping close to an hour more and their reaction time was 30 to 40 percent higher than before the trip.

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As highly experienced and knowledgeable HR professionals, The Burke Group understands how important vacations are for employees. They increase productivity, employee creativity and well-being!

Burke employment solutions can help you enhance your organization’s vacation policy to ensure your team members are set up for success. To consult with our team of HR professionals, contact us today.