For many, 2020 has been hugely stressful, and the benefits of taking time off are often underestimated. When life gives us unexpected turns, one of the best things we can do is use the opportunity to take a step back and relax. Taking time off from our place of employment gives us the means to do precisely that.
For those of us still able to do it safely, vacation and travel provide a tremendous benefit. If you cannot safely get away, merely taking time off to relax at home can have benefits. Whether you stay home or travel to a destination, you can recharge when you take a break from your daily routine.
Paid Time Off (PTO) in the Workplace
For many, the amount of PTO offered is a significant factor in whether they accept a job. But the reality is that most Americans don’t take enough time off.
According to a 2019 study by Tsheets, the American workforce left nearly a billion days of paid time off on the table the previous year! People may have any number of reasons to avoid taking PTO, but the benefits can make them more focused, productive employees when they return. When PTO is used, it’s a win-win for both the employees and the employers.
The benefits of PTO can be realized even if you don’t go anywhere. That time off can energize you so that you’re more focused than ever when you return.
Making the Most of Time Off
Reduce Stress – Time off, whether it’s spent in the Bahamas or your suburban home, removes you from an environment likely associated with stress. This simple act can also alleviate small physical ailments such as headaches or backaches that are likely stress-related. It gives you a window to breathe easily and collect yourself. The effects can last for weeks after the vacation is over as well. Having less stress improves the workplace setting for both employees and employers.
Get Happy – When your to-do list is miles long, and you’ve got tunnel vision on the next task at hand, it’s challenging to step back and gain some perspective on what you are doing. Vacation pulls you out of the thick of things so that you can objectively look at your work and life. You’re better able to evaluate your situation and regain a sense of normalcy. This ability to step back and look at the larger picture from time to time brings more balance to your lifestyle.
Improve Physical Health – Taking time off from work can help reduce the number of health risks, including the risk of coronary heart disease and heart attacks, according to Allina Health. Stress isn’t just a mental health issue. It elevates blood pressure and contributes to heart disease. It can lead to autoimmune issues and a large number of other serious health ailments. When you take the time to get away, you are resetting your physical health.
Increase Productivity –People often aren’t a good judge of when the events of their personal lives impede their ability to do the job right. Employees get the most direct benefit from taking time off, but employers should consider the benefits as well. It is likely detrimental to your business to let your employees build up a large balance of vacation time. It doesn’t matter if your employees have a lot on their plate, without a mental recharge, their productivity will decline and possibly strain business relationships inside and outside the organization. Employers can encourage employees to take all their PTO or insist on “mandatory minimums” for vacation. For employees, taking all of your time off can eliminate the feeling of being pulled in a million different directions and allows you to regain personal focus.
Taking the Time to Unwind Benefits You Personally and Professionally
Maybe your travel plans for 2020 were thwarted by unforeseen circumstances. Or perhaps you fall into the category of having PTO, but not using it. Whatever the case may be, chances are, the benefits of time off can still help you. If you have the opportunity to take a break, the best thing for you personally and professionally is to do it. Vacations are something we all deserve, and the benefits are boundless.