Do you remember how much you looked forward to summer holidays as a kid? Weeks of running riot with your mates through the neighbourhood, long lazy days at the beach, and not a scrap of homework in sight!
It’s hard to believe any grown-up would need convincing to take a holiday but apparently some people do, according to a Roy Morgan study.
Despite the average full-time worker earning four weeks of annual leave per year, the data showed that nearly a third of all working Australians have five or more weeks of annual leave stashed away.
That adds up to over one million days of outstanding leave, some of which could be yours!
Economists say that’s a huge debt to be sitting on the company’s books, and that more businesses should be encouraging their employees to use their leave. However, if you (or your boss) still need a little more convincing, science shows taking a break can also improve your work performance, your health… even your love life!
Increase Work Productivity
Many people fear falling behind or missing an opportunity or promotion as reasons not to take time off work. However, research shows that regular trips can actually increase productivity.
Not surprisingly, workers are happier, less stressed and have higher levels of energy both before and after returning from even a short break. This morale-boosting time away benefits the whole company by bolstering loyalty and improving staff retention rates in the long run.
For creative types, time away from the office can be especially beneficial. A change of scenery and new experiences are the best way to get those creative juices flowing again.
Improve Your Health
There’s a bunch of proverbs that advocate the importance of health above all else for good reason. Health is wealth. The body is a temple. You are what you eat and an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but frequent holidays should also be a staple of any healthy diet.
A study of 13,000 middle-aged men found that those who didn’t take annual leave for five consecutive years were a whopping 30 per cent more likely to suffer a heart attack than those who took at least one week off annually. Similarly scary results were also found in a separate study for women who holidayed less than once every six years.
If you’ve been trying to quit smoking or kick other naughty habits, a holiday is also the best time to bite the bullet. Without the regular cues and stressors that can trigger cravings, time away is an opportunity to break from routine and create new patterns to take home with you.
Rekindle The Spark
If not for your boss, and not for your health, do it for love!
Taking a holiday with your partner or spouse is also great for reigniting dwindling passion. Fear not though, you don’t (necessarily) have to fly to Paris or Tahiti every other weekend to keep the romance alive! The positive effects of taking local weekender trips at least twice per year were shown to help stave off depression and improve overall marriage satisfaction in this women’s study.
You know what they say: Happy wife, happy life!
And if you’re thinking of starting (or growing) a family, it’s also probably worth pointing out that more children are conceived during holiday periods than at any other time of year.
Remember To Switch Off
It’s also important to make sure your time away from work really is time away!
With a virtual office in the palm of your hand, it might be tempting to check in every few hours, but resist if you can! You’ve already worked hard and earned those hours of annual leave, so make the most of them!
Travelling FOR work doesn’t count, by the way. But if you fly for business often, you might like to check out our top tips to take the hassle out of work travel.