Top 5 excuses to not take your vacation

me timeI just got a look at a new report from the U.S. Travel Association about its recent survey of 1,300 American employees’ and business leaders’ attitudes about the use of their earned vacation time. And I think you’ll find some of the results surprising and fascinating – and maybe even eye-opening.

First, nearly everyone (96%) agrees that using one’s earned personal time off – PTO – is important. Yet four in 10 American workers (41%) don’t use some or all of their annual PTO. And 37% say that they leave some of their PTO on the table because it’s just so hard to actually use it all.

The surprising thing about it is that in many cases it is American workers themselves who make it so hard to take their PTO. They do it by convincing themselves that they are more important or critical to their company’s operation than really is the case, or that their absence somehow will make them vulnerable. The USTA’s survey results show that:

  1. 40% of American workers say they don’t us some or any of their PTO because they don’t want to face “a mountain of work” upon their return.
  2. 35% say it’s because “nobody else can do the work while I’m away.”
  3. 28% say they don’t use all their PTO because they want to demonstrate just how dedicated they are.
  4. 33% say they don’t use all their PTO because they “can’t afford” to do so
  5. 22% went further by saying they worry that taking time off might give their bosses the idea that they are replaceable.

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In many cases such concerns are unfounded. They are the result of workers own imaginations or insecurities. Mature, well-balanced employees –and their bosses/employers – understand that time away from work makes them more productive and efficient, happier and more fulfilled, and more creative when they are at work

Unfortunately, in some cases unhealthy corporate cultures do create pressures that make it difficult for workers to use all, or even any of their earned time off.

  • 48% of U.S. workers say their company culture neither encourages nor discourages the use of PTO, leaving some of them to wonder whether taking time off will hurt their careers.
  • 31% say that although PTO typically is defined as an employee-controlled benefit their bosses/companies have effective control over when – or whether – they can take their PTO.
  • 20% say their company’s culture is a barrier to their using all of their PTO.
  • 19% report that their companies send mixed signals or actively discourage them from using PTO.

Each of those perceptions – accurate or not – can be, and should be addressed by wiser, clearer and/or more frequent positive communication from enterprise leaders, from the CEO down to the line supervisor. The goal should be to create a culture that encourages employees to use their PTO as a way of assuring that they are regularly able to bring their “A” games to work. A relaxed, refreshed, rejuvenated employee who maintains a healthy work/life balance makes for a happier, more creative and more productive worker.

Take a look at the report on the US Travel’s website. What’s your excuse for not taking vacation?

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