It’s summer – Do you know where your vacation time is?
Yet another study shows Americans leave a lot of their paid vacation time on the table, essentially giving free work to their employers. The average American donates $500 worth of labor, according to this study. You also know that even when people do go on vacation, they tend to work at least part of the time — mainly because nearly everyone is afraid of the dreaded “first day back” email pile.
Now comes a bit more clarity on just how much people work while on “vacation.” Fully 25 percent of milennialls work every single day of their vacations, according to a survey conducted by Alamo Rent A Car.
Every. Single. Day.
It’s easy to blame oppressive bosses for this, and no doubt the continue sluggishness of the economy creates an environment that makes a complete disconnect from the office seem risky. But I’ve made this point many times — workers themselves are often to blame. Many have an exaggerated sense of their own importance. Many are control freaks. Many are bad at training replacements. And it turns out that some kinds of people are better at fully separating from their jobs, and the world doesn’t end when they do so.
“Americans who used all of their paid vacation were more likely to unplug while on their trips (54 percent vs. 37 percent) with 40 percent stating they are more productive when they return to work,” the Alamo study found.
In fact, vacations can be good for your career. Last year, I wrote about a study conducted by audit firm EY which found that workers who take vacations are more likely to get promotions and raises. Maryella Gockel, flexibility strategy leader at EY, said training substitutes is the key.
“When you delegate to others, other people grow while you are gone,” Gockel said. “Vacations can be a very important opportunity for others on the team.”
The effect is broad. Just a few weeks ago, the Harvard Business Review reported on a study by Project: Time Off which had similar results.
“People who take all of their vacation time have a 6.5% higher chance of getting a promotion or a raise than people who leave 11 or more days of paid time off on the table,” it said.
So let’s review: Someone or something is paying you to spend a week at the beach. And doing so is good for your career, but only if you truly leave the smartphone at home. And we haven’t even started on the long-term health effects of vacations.
If you haven’t already, stop what you are doing right now and plan a real vacation. It’ll do a world of good. And if you are reading this story from a smartphone at the beach, put down the phone and go for a swim. I’ll be here when you get back.