One of the newest trends in the corporate world comes as a pleasant surprise to many. Namely, mandatory vacations ordered by company owners. After a lengthy two-year pandemic that resulted in an unprecedented burnout, perhaps this new step so many bosses are taking isn’t such a big surprise. The shift that’s taken place in the past couple of years also led to unsettling mental health crises as well as historic resignation rates, which has made bosses come to realize that paid time off should not just be a “flashy perk that’s touted to lure workers.” - it should be a requirement.
A summer vacation could save your life
It’s a well-known fact that Americans (the majority of them) are workaholics. A recent IPX survey found that in the past few years, a great number of U.S. employees put off or completely canceled their vacation that they’ve been planning for months. And while the reality is that travel wasn’t really an option, it doesn’t change the fact that the people simply chose not to stop and take a break. The Center for Economic and Policy Research even labeled the nation, The No Vacation Nation.
And while being hard-working and fully dedicated to one’s work is very admirable, the downside is that it does take a toll on one’s health. In other words, we’re not meant to keep going without any pause. “A recent study by the World Health Organization (WHO) found that 745,000 people died in 2016 from heart disease and stroke due to long hours…” The same research found that “working 55 hours or more a week was associated with a 35% higher risk of stroke and a 17% higher risk of dying from heart disease than a workweek of 35 to 40 hours.” reports Forbes’ C. Catrillion
Why a forced vacation is a smart move
Happier, calmer, and more productive employees are just a few of the many benefits of a real summer vacation. However, the trick is, employees need to make the most of their down time. This means engaging in physical activities like swimming, walking, or something more extreme that otherwise they wouldn’t have time for. Many also engage in mindfulness practices and work on perfecting skills like deep breathing which can enhance concentration, and increase one’s capacity to be more productive. This is also a time during which employees can say goodbye to stress. A study released by the American Psychological Association found that when people are removed from events and situations that they associate stress with, their stress levels automatically decrease. Another report also highlighted that a mere 120 minutes in nature is linked to well-being and great health.
So whether you like it or not, it’s time to stop feeling guilty about taking time off. After all, the odds are, your boss will soon demand it from you. And the good news is, your body, colleagues and employer will all thank you in the long run.