HR Management & Compliance

Take the Time … to Take Time Off

A Monster survey reveals most U.S. workers are ready for some summer fun, but nearly 10% don’t plan to use any vacation at all—and that’s a mistake.

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Are you ready for a well-earned summer vacation?

If so, good for you! You join the one-third of respondents to a recent Monster survey who said they plan on traveling this summer. And it’s important that you do. Taking time away from work to spend precious time with family and/or friends—and some alone time just to relax and decompress—is essential for rejuvenating and returning to work with a fresh perspective on your job, says Monster Career Expert Vicki Salemi.

Equally as important, another 29% of survey respondents indicated they plan to take random days to get away from work and enjoy their time however they choose. Whether it’s a quick trip to the beach or a languid staycation, this time off can provide a refreshing break from work.

Also, nearly 18% of respondents plan on taking mental health days throughout the year. And why not? If an employer offers them, use them! Salemi says this is especially important for anyone in an unsatisfactory job or with a toxic boss or workplace environment.

If you typically need more than an occasional mental health day, it’s a red flag that you are not in the right job. If so, Salemi suggests using those days for job hunting and interviewing for a better opportunity!

No Time Off? Why?

While it’s good to see so many workers using their time off, Salemi notes it’s troubling to see that just under 10% of respondents don’t plan on taking any time off at all.

That raises an obvious question: Why not?

The time has been earned, so wasting days is almost like leaving money on the table, says Salemi. But having that mind-set begs a deeper question: What is wrong with your job that you feel obligated to work all the time? Do you feel threatened or coerced into never leaving? Are you afraid you’ll be fired upon returning from a vacation?

Regardless of the reason, it’s a strong indicator that something’s amiss at work … and it’s time you fixed it. That could mean addressing the problem with HR or your boss or looking for a better fit elsewhere. If your employer is not helpful or is oblivious to the issues that create an “I can’t take time off” mind-set, it’s time to find a better one that does.

Setting a Good Example

Of course, a great way to show employees that it’s OK to take earned time off is for employers to take time off, too! If workers see their bosses making vacations or personal days a priority without compromising their workplace responsibilities, there is no reason for them not to do so, too.

Salemi states that employers that walk the walk (and talk the talk by encouraging employees to take their hard-earned personal time) will be rewarded with a happier, healthier, more energetic and loyal workforce. Plus, leaders who unplug reap their own rewards by setting aside the stresses and responsibilities of the job—even if just for a while.

Take time off, and encourage others to do so. It’s a precious, well-earned benefit.

Bon voyage!

Vicki Salemi is an author, public speaker, consultant, columnist and Career Expert for Monster, a global leader in successfully connecting people and job opportunities. Unleashing her 15 years of experience in corporate recruiting and human resources, Vicki lives to empower job seekers with insight and first-hand knowledge from the halls of HR.

She is the author of Big Career in the Big City and The ABC’s of College Life. As a recognized influencer, Vicki often interviews notable names, such as Gloria Steinem, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Judy Blume, Derek Jeter, and Michael J. Fox, about their own careers.

Vicki previously held recruiting and HR management roles at global professional services firms including Deloitte and KPMG. A proud alumna, she graduated from Lafayette College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and earned a management certificate from Cornell University. She lives in New York City.