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Why It's Essential To Completely Unplug On Vacation

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    Illustrated by Alena Jaffe.

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    In the lead-up to the the July 4 weekend, most of us have vacation on our minds. After all, once upon a childhood, many of us enjoyed long, lazy summers off. These days, most of us are chained to work through the warm months, maybe grabbing a day or two away from our desks here and there. But, it’s one thing to receive PTO — and quite another to truly take advantage of it. According to travel site Skift, last year, close to 42% of Americans didn’t take any personal days. Zero.

    Yes, we're all "too busy" at work. It's so hard to get away! But when you don’t use your days off, you essentially lose money. According to a research study conducted by Oxford Economics, Americans toss aside $52.4 billion every year. Each employee ends up forfeiting about five days of vacation. That’s like working for free for a week.

    To remedy this situation, some companies offer unlimited vacation time or pay a vacation incentive. (Software firm Evernote actually gives $1,000 to any employee who takes at least a full week off, on a real vacation — no staycations permitted). Many employers see the tangible effects of this, such as boosted productivity, increased morale, and decreased health insurance costs.

    If you're not lucky enough to work somewhere that encourages time off (and even if you are), it's crucial to be vigilant about your backup plans. Meet with a colleague to train him or her for your absence, emphasize the benefits of staying offline during your break, and most importantly, demonstrate your increased motivation once you return from vacation — to showcase its added value.

    While many of us feel our roles are crucial to keeping the workplace working (which is a good feeling!), it's also essential to give yourself a break. Ahead, we outline the reasons unplugging is necessary. So talk to you boss, find some time on the calendar, and book a vacation. You'll be a better employee because of it.



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