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The urge to get away from it all strikes everyone at one time or another, yet less than 50 percent of the American workforce takes an annual vacation on a regular basis, citing any number of reasons for putting off this vital, restorative process. For those who do periodically or routinely indulge in some well-deserved time off, few are willing to leave their devices at home. Many remain connected to their jobs, whether they are tempted to work on an unfinished project or are contacted by a superior or co-worker regarding a work-related issue. Read on to learn about the importance of taking your vacation days and the many ways that time off can improve your career and health.

Reduced Stress Levels

The American Psychological Association conducted a study on the effects of vacation time on mental health. Their findings confirmed that stress levels are reduced in individuals once they have removed themselves from situations that cause them stress and anxiety. The effects can be immediate and long-lasting, lingering well beyond the day the employee returns back to work.

Increased Productivity

In 2006, Ernst & Young ran an independent, internal study to determine what effect vacation hours had on work performance. They discovered that for every 10 hours of additional annual vacation time, year-end performance ratings were increased by an average of eight percent. In addition, employees who vacationed regularly were found to be less likely to leave the firm.

Improved Sleep Patterns

Insomnia is both a symptom and by-product of stress, and unfortunately, once the cycle begins it can be hard to break. Concerns about work may make it nearly impossible to calm your mind enough to sleep, while the lack of rest the following day makes it nearly impossible to perform your job to the best of your ability. A vacation allows your mind and body to rest and revive and get back on track with your pattern of sleep.

Use it or Lose It!

Many organizations have a “use it or lose it” policy when it comes to paid vacation time, meaning if you don’t take your allotted time off, that time is simply absorbed back into the business.

Whether your reasons for skipping your annual vacation are personal or professional, consider the risks to your health and career before choosing a lifestyle that is all work and no play.


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