Why Vacations are important : A Note to All the Bosses


Today lets talk about something most of us share, a job. Even though Longing Travel is about traveling with your job I feel I rarely write about the job part of it. I have been asked by a few people about how we get leaves and how we manage to travel without many cancellations. A lot of you have expressed your frustration with your employers and the way they discourage leaves and time off. I decided to do a bit of research and write a post you might want to share with your boss or HR. This post is all about why your employer should encourage you to take your leaves and more than that to travel.

Ford is considered a company many want to base their business on, and without doubt it has been an ispiration to many including us  9-5 working mere mortals. Herny Ford decided to reduce working days in for his employees fom 6 to 5 and had a very simple reasoning behind it- increased productivity. In his words – “We know from our experience in changing from six to five days and back again that we can get at least as great production in five days as we can in six,” Ford said. “Just as the eight hour day opened our way to prosperity, so the five day week will open our way to a still greater prosperity.” Many of us still work 5+ days a week and that includes us. Why? Because someone at the top believes that working an extra day will usher in great wealths. What that actually does is create extra stress and burn out an employee who would have fared way better if she had one more day to spend with her family, take care of her personal matters and maybe just relax and read a book.

I have seen many jump ship even on a similar salary simply because the next company works 5 days a week, and they would like to spend time with their kids, visit their parents more often; basically jus relax. Internet is filled with posts, researches which spell out why working continuously harms workers, Businesses and the economy as a whole. What if I told you that the employee you believe is wasting time and your internet data by checking their social updates every few hours is more productive? In a post on The Wire, Rebecca Greenfield reports that an employee who spends less than 20% of time surfing net and taking breaks tends to be 9% more effective than his colleagues, and definitely less irritated than the others.

Off late we have seen a lot of sites being blocked in offices, I don’t know about you but I get way more irritated when half of search results are locked. (Seriously who blocks blogs!) Considering that a few minutes spent on facebook reading updates turn into a frustrated 10 minutes waiting for a way slower phone data to load the image you have just been told about. All of this when most offices and establishments have unlimited data connection. The thought process which drives wastage of resources into tracking and blocking people from a few minutes of online break works a towards vacations too.

A vacation can not only recharge you but also helps get your focus back to work that matters. You are more likely to work with fcus before heading off for a few days break, nobody want to spoil their vacation with office phone calls or return to a pile of work and a furious boss. Both of us try to finish off most of the work we have in hand before we head out to a week’s break, and if we know we will be off the grid we try and finish off even the non important work because we don’t want our next vacation to be cancelled because suddenly something became urgent.

When most of the employees take days off they are more likely to talk to each other and share work related information, that means peple know what others are doing and in a cunch situation they can chime in. The Motley Fool’s tradition of mandating a two weeks of for one employee in a month makes me want to work there even tough I know nothing about what they do. As their spokesperson says this serves a dual purpose “First, it helps make sure that people ARE taking time off, clearing their heads, and recharging their batteries. Second, it helps us fight against single points of failure within the company. When you suddenly take two weeks off, you need to make sure that other people around you understand what you do so that the company doesn’t come to a screeching halt if you’re gone,” Sounds like a good enough reason to encourage your employees to take a vacation, plus if you do work in my field of expertise there is a high chance you’ll have my resume on your table.

Then there is a trust issue, employers are worried that the employees might just take off and never come back, and for some professions you need your employee to be physically present. Well you do not have to jump to Hubspot’s policy of unlimited vacations,(though that would be cool) but providing a decent number of paid leaves and not turnigng your nose up when someoe claims them owuld be a good place to start. One of our trek mates works in a company which has around 3 weeks of paid vacation and to make sure that people take it they have scrapped the provision of encashing the remaining leaves. That means people will take leaves because most do not want to waste leaves and there are very few chances that every one will be off on the same days.

When a company encourages me to live my life and take days off, I for one will try and stick to them for as long as possible. And believe me I am not the only person who feels this way, a lot of my friends would stay in a company for its benefits, leave policy is really high up there for many along with the health and pay benefits.That means a company which strives for a better work life balance will probably loose far less number of people than one which might pay more but sucks at keeping people happy. They say it costs a company around 6-9 months of a person’s salary to replace an existing employee. Add to that the time required by the new person to get to speed and also the signal it send to others in the office. In past few months we have seen a lot of people changing jobs for whatever reasons, and for every person who leaves there are atleast 3-4 people who wish they were leavig indeed.

Now my favorite part and my pet peevee, the know it all supervisor who believes that they know better than. Some of them will even explain to you why your requirement of personal time is simply not justified. ‘ What do you mean you are leaving because you want to work in a 5 day a week company? This is the time to work not rest and spend money.’ and my ultimate favorite; ‘ What do you do with all the breaks, isn’t a weekend enough for you?’ I have had a few people ask me these questions and have heard even more hilarious questions from friends. Every body has differet eeds, some people need a break every few hours to recollect their thoughts and refocus, some just need a good night’s sleep. Then there are those who like their work but also have other things in life they want to do, they need days off to see the world, weekends to learn guitar and time off to just relax and do nothing. They are more likely to work harder and better if they do not have to navigate around company’s policy and fret everytime they decide to do something. 

And if all my words don’t convince you, maybe these numbers will, they are for United States but I am sure these will apply to any country you live in. 
If workers used all of their available paid time off ,the economy[/entity] would benefit from more than $160 billion in total business sales and $21billion in tax revenues, spending that would support 1.2 million jobs in industries ranging from retail to manufacturing to transportation.

If that doesn’t work for you look at the results that US Travel had when they encouraged their employees to take time off they had the one of their best year ever, achieved its top legislative priorities,exceeded attendance and revenue goals at major events, and made headlines with thought-provoking research. They doled out 500$ incentive for employees who used all their vacation time, you don’t have to just don’t stand in the way.

In case you do send this out to your boss or your HR, let me know what response you got, more than that if you do have company who works with you let us know in the comments.

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