662 million. According to a survey by GFK, that’s the number of vacation days America workers left on the table in 2016. As huge as that number is, 1% fewer employees ended 2016 with unused days than did in 2015. So, we’re doing better! But, that’s still a LOT of time-off that you’ve earned and that you deserve to use!
I know, you think you’re doing your career a favor by being in the office more. You’re probably wrong. Employees who forfeit their vacation days are about 6% less likely to have received a raise in the last three years and 2% less likely to have received a promotion in the last year than those who used all theirs. What are they more likely to do though? Experience more stress, both at work and at home. More work, more stress, less vacation, less reward?
While some people leave vacation time on the table because they’re self-proclaimed “work martyrs”, many of us simply don’t plan for it. Suddenly, the kids are getting out of school and you haven’t even thought about where to go for a summer vacation. Or, like I did one year, you realize in October that you still have two weeks of vacation days and nothing on the horizon. I ended up just taking Fridays off for the rest of the year, but I didn’t do anything useful with all that time…
Planning is the Key.
A majority (52%) of employees who set aside time to plan out their vacation days actually took all their time off, compared to only 40% of non-planners. Planners also take longer trips (because waiting until the last minute usually means you can only swing a long weekend). Of course, actually using the days isn’t the only benefit to planning them. Planners feel more supported at work and they report being happier overall. That’s right, happier at work, in relationships, and in their health.
I love planning vacations (I guess that’s obvious though)! It’s like getting twice the bang for your buck. A 2010 study published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life found that vacationers experienced a substantial boost in happiness during the planning stages of their trip. The anticipation is half the fun!
More Bang for Your Vacation Buck.