The June 1 cover story in Time magazine asks, “Who killed summer vacation?”
The answer is, according to writer Jack Dickey, “We did.”
In 2013, Dickey reports, the average American worker had 4.9 unused vacation days. Even worse, 1.6 of those days didn’t carry over into 2014 and were lost.
There are several reasons to reverse this trend. Workers who receive paid vacations can help the economy and boost productivity at their own places of employment by taking more time off. They may experience better mental and physical health. They could, potentially, travel to new destinations, with the opportunity to make a new friend or learn something about history, nature or customs.
Working on vacation is a poor compromise, but it’s better than nothing. Working too much on vacation is probably worse than nothing, however. Unplug; step away from the office entirely.
The reasons not to take time off will always be with us: the work piles up before and after a vacation; flat wages that haven’t kept up with inflation make quality trips too expensive for some people; or you’re the only person who can do the work. (Really?) There are even a few employers – not many, thank goodness – that feel people who take all of their vacation time are not devoted enough to their jobs, and maybe less deserving of a promotion.
In spite of those arguments, let’s try to do a better job or taking time off from our jobs.