Is It a Good Work-Life Balance Strategy to Skip Vacation Days?

The short answer is no. My own experience, backed by studies and articles on the subject, arrive at the same conclusion.\r\n\r\nA recent study by the U.S. Travel Association reported there are 429 million days of unused leave annually in the United States. It also reports that 47 percent of workers say they bring work stress home, and 32 percent admit to bringing home stress to work.\r\n\r\nI don’t think there is an easy solution to this challenge. However, if you want to improve your work-life balance and are not taking your full vacation days, here are a few suggestions:\r\n\r\n1. Analyze why you are leaving vacation days on the table. Do you feel guilty when you leave work? Are you concerned that your “professional image” or career may suffer? Will there be too much work waiting for you when you return? If your employer supports employees taking their full vacation periods, then share your concerns with your manager or HR. Beware that, sooner or later, maintaining the status quo will hurt you in the form of work burnout, strained relationships, health issues, etc.\r\n\r\n2. Plan your vacation. Planning your days off at the beginning of the year offers the dual benefit of aligning your plans with both your employer and the family or friends you will vacation with. Even if you plan to vacation solo, it will force you to make arrangements.\r\n\r\n3. Learn about companies that offer flexible scheduling and unlimited vacation days. I have read about policies like these offered by Twitter, Cisco, VMWare, Netflix, Virgin Group, CarMax, Protivity and Mayo Clinic, among others. They usually require employees to be up to date on their projects (understandable), but it still sounds like an approach worth assessing toward improving work and life balance.\r\n\r\nI welcome your reactions.\r\n\r\nPercy M. Cannon\r\nAuthor, Consultant, Facilitator & Coach\r\nwww.cannon.consulting

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