Why Taking More Holidays Can Make You More Productive
Next time you’re feeling in a slump at work, the best prescription may be to take a holiday.
Research by Canada Life Group Insurance shows that 23 percent of employees in the UK did not take their full holiday allowance in 2015. According to the report, these numbers have been the trend since 2014.
Many Britons cite staffing issues at the office and a sense of guilt as reasons for not taking full advantage of their paid holiday leave. However, those who choose to forego holiday entitlement may not be doing their employer any favors in the long term. Scientific studies show that going on holiday can make employees more productive at work and less likely to leave the company.
Here are several reasons why taking more frequent holidays can make you healthier, happier and may help you get ahead in your career
Employees who take more holidays perform better on the job
According to the Office of National Statistics, employee output per hour in the UK is 17% below the average among G7 nations. Scientific studies have shown that struggles with work/life balance can affect performance in the workplace.
While it may seem counterintuitive, more time away from the office has been shown to increase employee performance. In 2006, professional services firm Ernst & Young conducted an internal study of its employees and found that for every additional 10 hours of holiday an employee took, their end-of-year performance rating from their managers increased by eight percent.
More frequent holidaymakers take fewer unplanned sick days
Preparing for a holiday usually requires some additional work up-front. But it’s always easier for co-worker’s when employees have the time to wrap up projects and delegate tasks before they depart. Unplanned sick days, on the other hand, can feel like a last-minute scramble for all involved. Studies show that employees that use more holiday entitlement take fewer sick days throughout the year.
And report better long-term heart health.
A report published in 2000 followed 13,000 middle-aged men at risk for heart disease. The results showed that those who did not take holiday were 30% more likely to suffer a heart attack than their counterparts who took off one week or more each year. And it’s not just men at risk: the Framingham Heart Study suggests that not taking holiday can be hazardous for women as well. Women who took a holiday fewer than once every six years were eight times more likely to develop heart disease than women who took two holidays or more per year.
Holidays lead to better sleep, which leads to more productive days.
The burnout is real. Work-related factors, including spending more hours at the office and project-related stress, are among the leading causes of insufficient sleep. Studies show that insufficient sleep – defined as less than six hours per night – is one of the top causes of employee burnout. A Harvard Medical School study claims that sleep deprivation costs American companies up to $63.2 billion per year. Holidays, on the other hand, can help break the habits that disrupt sleep and allow the body to reset its sleep pattern.
Holidays increase creativity
As Daniel J. Levitin, the director of the Laboratory for Music, Cognition and Expertise at McGill University, told the New York Times, during most of the hours we spend at work, the task-driven part of our brain is on overdrive. But it’s when we allow ourselves to daydream that our minds are able to come up with our greatest insights. “This brain state, marked by the flow of connections among disparate ideas and thoughts, is responsible for our moments of greatest creativity and insight, when we’re able to solve problems that previously seemed unsolvable.” This means you may be better primed to solve that nagging problem while laying on the beach than while sitting at your desk.
More holidays mean less employee turnover
Employee turnover costs big business big money. A study conducted by the Center for American Progress shows that the cost of losing an employee can cost anywhere from 16% of the salary for an hourly employee, up to 213% of the salary for a highly trained position. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, human resource professionals agree that taking full advantage of holiday entitlement results in higher employee retention.