Why Your Career's Health Needs to Use Vacation Days as Much as You Do
Don’t let your vacation days expire, taking time off can help your job improve
If you’re like a lot of people, you often spend your days looking at travel blogs and vacation photos on social media, dreaming of the next time you can take a trip to a faraway land.
But if you never actually make the voyage, a recent survey revealed you may be harming your career prospects.
As part of Project: Time Off, the US Travel Association issued a new online survey, and the results are somewhat shocking.
A Real, Actual Vacation
While most American workers report taking more time off than they have in the past, the results show that usually these off-hours aren’t being used on real vacations. Instead, workers site obligations like children, medical issues, and other reasons for taking off-days.
But the same survey showed that more than half of people who used their vacation time to travel reported getting a promotion in the past two years. Compare this to the folks who didn’t travel, only 44 percent of whom reported receiving a promotion recently.
And the travel-minded survey takers experienced other benefits as well. 86 percent of people who used all of their paid time off reported getting bonuses or raises, while that number was only 81 percent for people who stayed at home. Even overall happiness was better for travelers, 75 percent of whom reported feeling happy, compared to 25 percent for the non-travelers.
Giving Context to the Numbers
So what could be the reasons for this? Well, there could be several factors linking travelers to better satisfaction at work. It’s no secret that going on a trip or checking a location off your destination bucket list can improve your mood. And good moods are contagious.
If you bring a smile into work everyday, your co workers and managers are likely to take notice. This could lead to positive reports on your attitude, which may cause your superiors to be more keen towards giving you a raise or a promotion.
Knowing you have a fun trip planned ahead could make you more motivated to work harder and be more productive. Having a reward in sight (like a vacation) can make you more confident in your work/life balance, which can make you feel better about performing your job at a high level.
The Perks of Taking Vacation:
In fact, there are ten benefits to taking vacations that can help you in your work life, social life, and even with your family:
1. Time to Unwind
Taking some time to yourself can be very relaxing. A nice vacation can allow you to breathe more deeply, live at a more leisurely pace for a few days, and recalibrate yourself.
Life can be hectic, and taking a few days to unwind and unplug can be very beneficial to your overall wellbeing. There are all sorts of benefits related to reduced stress, including weight loss, better skin, and more.
2. Great Memories
One of the best parts of a vacation is getting to make great memories, either with friends and family or just for yourself. Sitting at your desk at work every day certainly has its benefits, but the days can start to run together if you don’t take an occasional trip. And a vacation is a great opportunity to pick up a few exciting memories along the way, so you can think back on the good times later.
3. Stories to Tell
Everyone loves a good story, but going to work every day just isn’t that great of a yarn. Give yourself some fun new stories to tell your friends by taking a trip to an exotic new land.
4. A Break From the Norm
When you do decide to take a vacation, try to disconnect from your phone or email as much as possible. One of the best parts of a vacation is breaking up the monotony of the weekly work routine. A few days away from emails and other work-related tasks can leave you feeling refreshed and ready to tackle them when you get back.
5. Learn About Cultures
It’s easy to live in a bubble, especially when you’re seeing the same sights and sounds every day of the week. Taking a vacation can open yourself up to new ways of life you may have never thought about before. We’ve all heard the stories of people who take a trip somewhere exotic and then decide never to return. Now, that’s not to say you shouldn’t come back to work when vacation is done, but you just never know what you will find out in the world if you go looking.
6. Meet New People
In addition to discovering new ways of life, meeting new people is one of the best parts of a vacation. You could meet a friend you keep for the rest of your life, or you might just meet a few friendly faces you never see again. Either way, introducing some new people into your social circle is a great way to spice up your life.
7. Photo Opportunities
A picture is worth a thousand words, they say. And in the modern social media age, there’s no denying the power of a good photo to generate some likes. Taking a trip is a surefire way to discover some Instagram-worthy locations in which to pose yourself.
8. Delicious Food
Taking a vacation means you gain access to all the incredible food you might discover. Every region has its own culinary delights, so make sure you sample some local fare wherever you go. Stay away from the fast food and chain restaurants if you can, and open yourself up to the bizarre!
9. Strengthen Friendships
Bringing a few friends along for the trip is a great way to strengthen the bonds between you and your buddies. Even the road trip or the plane ride can be fun if you have some great friends with you, so make it a group adventure if you can.
10. Expand Your Horizons
The totality of the travel experience serves to broaden your mind. Your understanding of the world will only increase the more places you see and the more walks of life you encounter. With a broader mind and a bigger-picture perspective, the daily grind of work won’t seem so bad, and you can always look forward to your next trip.
The Natural Conclusion
These are just a few of the great benefits you’ll feel when you take a break and get out into the world for a nice vacation. Of course, that’s not to say you should spend more time abroad than at the office.
It’s still important to make sure your work gets done. But your happiness at work, and your overall life satisfaction, for that matter, will increase if you take the occasional time off to explore.