Staying late won’t necessarily get you that promotion. Working over the weekend may not deliver that salary increase you’ve been working for, and skipping vacation time may not impress company management. Managers may not even know you worked late for a week to get that presentation ready.
Simply put: job martyrs don’t always receive recognition or promotions or raises.
A recent U.S. Travel Association® survey of American workers shows we’re taking less time off, using fewer vacation days, and overworking ourselves to the detriment of our health and work-life balance.1
The survey provides some insight on why Americans leave paid time off (PTO) on the table with increasing frequency.
- 40% of us will not take full advantage of our PTO, in essence, working free.
- 40% of us don’t use PTO because of that pile of work waiting for us when we return.
- 35% of us feel that no one else can do the job as well as we can (and we may not want management to discover that there is someone who can do our jobs).
- 33% of respondents indicated that they couldn’t afford to take PTO – even though it’s paid time off.
- One possible reason PTO isn’t used is the competitive job market, with 22% of us worried that if we take our two weeks, employers will discover that we are replaceable.
- Almost half of us (46%) continue to respond to work-related emails while “on vacation.”
- Company managers who took part in the survey indicate that less than half of them discuss the importance of PTO with employees.
Americans have become job martyrs, sacrificing personal time in the mistaken belief that this will get them ahead in their careers.
A report published on the Travel Effect® website makes one thing clear: “Workers who left 11 to 15 vacation days unused during a year were 6.5% less likely to receive a raise or bonus than those who used all of their vacation days.”2
If you’re leaving PTO on the table, you may just be falling behind instead of getting ahead as planned!
The Obstacles to Using Paid Time Off (PTO)
It’s not like the old days when you could disconnect the phone when you were on vacation. Today, employees access work through computers, tablets, cellphones and other digital devices, sometimes checking email inboxes a few times every day – and worrying about that pile of work waiting back at the office.
Technology has made it more difficult to effectively use PTO. There are just too many ways (and temptations) to staying connected, even when on a well-earned vacation.
A lack of communication between employer and employees may contribute to the problem. Many employers are ambiguous about PTO. Although most managers (95%) recognize the value of PTO, the U.S. Travel Association study indicates that “American employees say their company says nothing, sends mixed messages about, or discourages using their PTO.”1
Employers may unintentionally send the wrong message to the workplace team. Only 37% of senior management unplug completely during PTO, an indication that the “nose-to-the grindstone” work mentality exists in many businesses.1
Another obstacle? Some employers pay employees to work instead of taking vacation time, and at least some of those employees would rather collect a bigger paycheck than enjoy the recreational benefits of a real vacation and “getting away from it all,” at least for a few days.
Should You Book Your Vacation Now?
Vacation time can be beneficial to you, your family and ultimately, your employer. Working more won’t necessarily get you ahead, and in fact, there’s a chance that all that hard work is actually holding you back.
Finding the right balance between work and a personal life is important to happiness, and a happy employee is often a more productive employee.
Take those vacations as you climb the corporate ladder to workplace success. All work and no play isn’t good for anyone.
Use your PTO to boost your chances for career advancement – a win-win for employees and their employers.
The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice.
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