The Interesting Relationship Between Vacation and Productivity

We don’t think of employees who take a well-earned vacation as absconding from their work duties, but we commonly perceive vacations as leisurely affairs that, while they provide a much needed break from work life, don’t exactly encourage us to return to the workplace ready to pick up where we left off, because we desire more vacation, not more work.

However, according to a recent report from Project: Time Off — an organization that researches and promotes the benefits of taking vacation from work — that perception is largely incorrect. From the report: “The majority of HR managers agree (77%) that employees who take most or all of their vacation time are more productive in their jobs than those who do not. Further, HR managers believe that taking [and] using vacation time leads to higher performance (75%) and increased job satisfaction (78%).”

When you consider how we view non-human work resources, the report starts sounds spot on. For example, no one with knowledge of IT hardware would expect a desktop to perform like a charm if it wasn’t shut off for a year, and an experienced online marketing manager wouldn’t expect a regional email campaign to generate leads 24/7. Yet, oddly enough, we think of humans, who tire far easier than hardware and software, as being capable of working busy schedules without a break.

“Use It Or Lose It” Vs. “Rollover”

Most companies offer vacation on one of two models: the use it or lose it model, in which employees must use all of their yearly vacation days or relinquish them at year’s end; or the “rollover” model, in which unused vacation days are transferred from one year to the next.

According to the same report, “(85%) of talent managers at ‘use it or lose it’ organizations agree that employees who take most or all of their vacation time are more productive in their jobs — 16-percentage points higher than HR managers at firms with rollover policies (69%). Fully seven in ten respondents (70%) in organizations with a ‘use it or lose it’ policy believe that employees who take all of their vacation will stay with their jobs longer, while just more than half (55%) of those with rollover policies agree.”

One of the biggest reasons for the discrepancy is that companies with rollover vacation policies don’t feel bad about creating a work culture where employees seldom take vacation, because the employees technically don’t lose the vacation time they don’t take. However, once a person racks up hundreds of vacation days, there’s simply not a practical way to take all of them.

Being paid for saved vacation days — which typically happens when you retire or willfully switch employers — is the realistic reward. Yet, as the Project: Time Off report shows, being paid for unused vacation and actually using vacation are dogs of different colors when it comes to employee motivation, employee performance, and even employee attrition. If there’s a central message for employer’s, it’s this: In terms of productivity, not paying for yearly vacation days could end up far costlier than footing the bill for them.

Who We Are

Incentive Travel Solutions is a planner and facilitator of incentive-based travel trips to prime destinations around the globe. Like standard vacation time, travel trips provide a much needed break for hard working employees, and help create a sense of camaraderie between employees that is taken back to the workplace at trip’s end. To inquire about our services, please call us today at (704) 540-1482, or use our contact form. We look forward to hearing from you.