Vacations: The Cure for the Stressed-Out Worker?

Only 44 percent of employees responding to a recent Virgin Pulse survey take most of their allotted paid time off per year. More than one-third (34 percent) take half or less of their paid time off.

So what, you might think. My employees are dedicated and love their jobs. Or maybe they feel guilty about taking time off-41 percent of respondents to the Virgin Pulse survey reported feeling “guilty” or “stressed out” about taking time off from work.

Further, half of all employees report not being able to unplug completely while on vacation:

More than 20 percent said they work during vacations;

48 percent say they’re expected to be at least somewhat available while on vacation; and

48 percent say they typically use their mobile devices to “stay plugged in” while on vacation.

Unfortunately, that stress spills over into other areas. Chris Boyce, CEO of Virgin Pulse, says, “Stressed-out employees cost companies $600 more than average in health care each year, adding up to over $300 billion annually.”

The cure? Encourage employees to use their paid leave time. Although nearly two-thirds of workers say they have to work extra hours before taking a vacation, they still benefit from taking time off. About 60 percent reported feeling recharged after a vacation, and nearly half (48 percent) also return to work feeling more rested.

Vacation benefits support employee mental health and productivity.

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