Are You Taking All Your Vacation?

I was struck my an interesting infographic posted by Loyalty Traveler yesterday discussion the paid-time off habits of US workers.  It begs the question – are you taking all your vacation time each year?

It is a hot topic among some of my friends.

I totally unplugged and played on my last vacation - but it was difficult at times!

I totally unplugged and played on my last vacation – but it was difficult at times!

A few report work cultures where vacation is limited to times when no one else is off – and they don’t always take vacation because the desirable dates are already taken by those more senior to them.  Others report still having to work while gone – the expectation is that they will read emails, sit in in conference calls, and deal with urgent scenarios.  Some hoard time off and prefer to be paid for it at the end of the year (which is not an option for all of us)! And a few don’t really take a vacation at all because they are self-employed, so any time off is unpaid time.

The topic gets muddier for frequent business travelers. Of course, some assume we are on vacation all the time. I have acquaintances who will bring up recent business trips when I mention a vacation, as in “Didn’t you just spend a week in New York? It’s not fair you get to take a vacation too!” It was even worse when I traveled internationally for trade events several times a year. Despite the fun-looking marketing photos, I was often working 16 hour days – and yet those got treated like unpaid vacations by others.

Those with a spouse who doesn’t travel or a family can often feel that vacation is just another week on the road – not really a break from anything. I’ve seen a few biz travel friends actively avoid vacation time due to that reasoning.

But as a manager, the part that made me sit up and take notice was about the cultural aspects of vacation. 63% said that they watched as senior leaders didn’t unplug on vacation, leaving employees questioning what was expected of them on their own vacation. Admittedly, I’m guilty of checking email on vacation, more out of my own desire to come home to a clean inbox. But I think I’ll throw that selfish desire aside on my next vacation (cruising certainly makes that easier) and unplug a bit.

We’ll just say I’m taking one for the team!

Did you read Ric’s post? What’s your take? Share and discuss in the comments below.

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