Take a Break: The importance of vacations

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 14, 2021

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During the summer months, millions take to the road or the sky to enjoy some rest and relaxation from the daily grind. However, in 2020, we saw this tradition cease, while workers left vacation days on the table, opting to work more instead during the global pandemic.

In a report by IPX, 93% of workers either cancelled, postponed or opted not to book a vacation this past year. Despite not taking a break, workers tallied more hours year-over-year in 2020. According to a report by the National Bureau of Economic Research, people worked an average of one extra hour a week in 2020.

After an unprecedented year where employees worked harder and longer, it’s time to look at the importance of why we need vacations/time away from the office.

Vacations help alleviate burnout

In 2020, lockdowns and restrictions forced many employers to ramp up production while using a skeleton staff. While doing more with less may seem like a prudent business decision, one side effect is employee burnout. In a recent study, Indeed found that 52% of workers are experiencing some form of burnout in 2021, significantly up from the 43% pre-COVID-19 level.

Moreover, 67% believe burnout has become worse since the pandemic, while 80% say the pandemic itself helped fuel employee burnout.

Vacations can improve health

North Americans are known for working some of the longest workweeks in the world, but extra time in the office is having an adverse effect on the overall health of workers. According to a study by the World Health Organization, employees who log 55 or more hours per week have a 35% higher risk of stroke, as well as a 17% higher risk of dying of heart disease, compared to individuals only working 35 to 40 hours per week.


Vacations can inspire progress

Office success requires a workforce that is engaged and motivated. But a study by Team Stage shows that only 15% of workers are engaged at work. Active disengagement costs companies money and hinders their competitive advantage within their markets. One way to help counteract this issue is to encourage employees to take vacations.


James C. Price is a content marketing specialist for Express Employment Professionals, which serves St. John, St. James and St. Charles parishes from its Gonzales office. For more information, call 225-644-9675.