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Why taking paid holiday is important for your employees

The positive impact of holidays for companies

Mandatory paid vacations are not a luxury, they should not be seen as a legal imposition on the company, but as a necessity for both the worker and the employer.

In most developed countries, such as Australia, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, France, the United Kingdom, Spain, Switzerland, and Italy, workers get a legal minimum of 20 to 25 days of paid holiday each year. In contrast, the United States is the only country among the members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in which the obligation to offer paid time off to workers is not established.

According to a study by Project: Time Off, 52% of American workers did not take vacations during 2018. This has a negative impact on workers, companies, and the country’s economy.


The positive impact of holidays for companies

The benefits of offering paid vacations are substantial for both the employee and the employer. First, vacations allow workers to rest, recharge their batteries and return to work with renewed energy. This means that when they return to work, they will be more willing and productive.

Productivity increase: Productivity is one of the main advantages of taking vacations.  After the holidays, workers are rested and ready to start a new work stage. The study An Assessment of Paid Time Off in the U.S., a 2004 study by the consulting firm Oxford Economics, found that 75% of managers generally felt that they were more productive again after having a holiday. It was also found that 50% of managers said they were more focused after the break.

Vacations promote creativity
: A well-earned break can help workers gain new ideas and perspectives to address problems in the workplace.

Improved employee health
: Several studies have shown that taking vacations has a positive impact on the physical and mental health of workers. One of the most important diseases caused by work is stress. Chronic stress can lead to health issues, including anxiety, depression, panic attacks, insomnia, and even heart disease.

Reduced cardiovascular disease:
According to the World Health Organization and the International Labor Organization, working long hours contributed to 745,000 stroke and ischaemic heart disease deaths in 2016, a 29 percent increase since 2000. The study increased mortality despite successful multifactorial cardiovascular risk reduction in healthy men, carried out by the University of Finland, concluded that those who had a holiday of less than three weeks were 37% more likely to die from heart disease.

Reduction of work exhaustion
: Vacations allow workers to rest and unwind, separating personal and work life. In this way, workers can avoid burnout, a condition characterized by loss of enthusiasm for work, the feeling of failure and extreme fatigue, and often leads to sick leave or abandonment of that job.

Another positive impact is that, as a result of vacations, workers tend to be
happier and more satisfied with their working lives. This translates to lower staff turnover and, therefore, cost savings for the company. Likewise, a team of satisfied workers is more productive and efficient.


6 strategies to help employees take their vacations:

The main step is to eliminate the attitudes with which the employee is discouraged from taking their vacations.

  • Managers should reassure their team that they shouldn’t feel bad about taking vacations and that, as a manager, you encourage them to take vacations.
  • Management must promote the message that productive and high-performing people take time off work.
  • Managers should lead by example and regularly take annual leave.
  • It is advisable to reformulate the concept of “vacations” or “holidays” and present free time as an opportunity to recharge or revitalize.
  • Establish plans to reassign work while employees are on holiday. This will help reduce the worry that they will have an even heavier workload when they return.
  • The company should also highlight the importance that workers should not be preoccupied with their work during vacations. This means encouraging people to turn off their work phones and ignore work emails during their free time.

Above all, it is important to remember that annual leave is not an optional extra. All workers have a legal right to take this time. Not only is it critical to their health and well-being, but also to their longevity and contribution to their employer.