During the summer months, millions take to the road or the sky to enjoy some rest and relaxation from the daily grind. A focus on some sort of vacation has been a staple to workers across the world able to recharge and spend time with friends and loved ones. However, in 2020, we saw this tradition cease, while workers left vacation days on the table, opting to work more instead during the global pandemic.
In a report by IPX, 93% of workers either cancelled, postponed, or opted not to book a vacation this past year. Despite not taking a break, workers tallied more hours year-over-year in 2020. According to a report by the National Bureau of Economic Research, people worked an average of one extra hour a week in 2020.
While the outside factors of the COVID-19 pandemic affected vacations and time off in 2020, the economic recovery and lifting of restrictions should encourage travel and time-off from work this year. After an unprecedented year where employees worked harder and longer, it’s time to look at the importance of why we need vacations/time away from the office.
Vacations Help Alleviate Burnout
In 2020, lockdowns and restrictions forced many employers to ramp up production while using a skeleton staff. While doing more with less may seem like a prudent business decision, one side effect is employee burnout. In a recent study, Indeed found that 52% of workers are experiencing some form of burnout in 2021, significantly up from the 43% pre-COVID-19 level.
Moreover, 67% believe burnout has become worse since the pandemic, while 80% say the pandemic itself helped fuel employee burnout. The antidote for burnout, oftentimes, is using vacation time to recharge and rest. Fully disconnecting from the office can help rejuvenate employees.
Vacations Can Improve Health
North Americans are known for working some of the longest workweeks in the world, but extra time in the office is having an adverse effect on the overall health of workers. According to a study by the World Health Organization, employees who log 55 or more hours per week have a 35% higher risk of stroke, as well as a 17% higher risk of dying of heart disease, compared to individuals only working 35 to 40 hours per week.
Taking an extended break from these types of grueling work conditions can not only help bring a realistic work-life balance, it can also help lower stress levels and improve health.
Vacations Can Inspire Progress
Office success requires a workforce that is engaged and motivated. But a study by Team Stage shows that only 15% of workers are engaged at work. Active disengagement costs companies money and hinders their competitive advantage within their markets. One way to help counteract this issue is to encourage employees to take vacations.
New experiences can inspire employees to build a new outlook on their jobs, as well as encourage creativity and inspiration. If a company struggles with disengagement and stagnation, vacations can flip the script and help create an entirely new corporate culture.
How has the importance of vacations changed for you? What do you do to decrease workplace burnout? Let us know in the comments section below!