Word-Of-the-Week #676: Outmoded

July 20, 2017 by  

Outmoded – no longer fashionable or widely accepted.

Would you like to be a trend setter? How would it feel to increase your productivity? Are you using all of your vacation time?

This week Minda Zetlin’s Chicago Tribune article, Take Your Vacation and Everyone Benefits, is the perfect follow up to our last 3 WOW’s on Curiosity, Routine & Unfamiliar.

Are you one of the millions of Americans who’s married to your job, taking only a few days off every year because of your many important responsibilities? If so, research suggests you aren’t doing yourself or your employer any favors. Not only that, you’re becoming outmoded. Many Americans are finally starting to take more vacation time.

A wide range of experts emphasize the importance of taking time off for productivity, mental and physical well-being and more. Despite that, Americans took fewer vacations, with average total days off every year dropping from just over 20 days between 1978 and 2000 to about 16 days in recent years, according to research by Project Time Off.

But the picture is starting to change a bit.

In 2016, Americans took an average 16.8 days off, the second year of growth after bottoming out in 2014 at 16 days. It may not sound like a staggering change, but according to Project Time Off, this is the biggest increase we’ve seen since used vacation days began dropping at the beginning of the century.

Despite the improvement over the last two years, there are still 54 percent of Americans who did not use all their paid vacation time last year, Time Off has found. Its research is based on an online survey with 7,331 American workers who work more than 35 hours a week and receive paid time off from their employer.

New research by the vacation search engine Liligo also shows an increase in the average length of summer vacations based on bookings in its database, which are up from an average 10 days in 2015 and 2016 to 14 days in 2017.

Taken together, these findings may suggest a change in Americans’ attitudes toward vacations.

It could be because of growing recognition among employers of the importance of vacation time or it could be that in a time of skilled labor shortages and low unemployment, employees are less fearful that a week or two away from work will cost them advancement opportunities, or possibly even their jobs.

Whatever the reason, you should jump on this trend, because your relationships (at home and at work), your productivity, your mood, your health and more likely will benefit.

And, if you are one of the sad Americans who isn’t taking your time off, then consider this: You are doing your job on a volunteer basis for a week or more every year.

Some employees can recoup the vacation time they didn’t take in the form of extra cash or severance pay when they leave their jobs. But if this is your plan, don’t count on it.

Because so many Americans aren’t taking their vacation time, many companies carry this loss on their balance sheets and some are seeking to get rid of that liability by instituting use-it-or-lose-it vacation policies or unlimited vacation policies (in which case, paid time off doesn’t accrue). Some companies are counting on employees being afraid to take a lot of unlimited PTO, of course.

You’ll be better off if you just take all your vacation time, and so will everyone who works or lives with you.”

This week is all about not becoming outmoded. Would you take more vacations if you knew it would improve your relationships (at home and at work)? Or that it would improve your health? Would you like to be in a better mood more often?

Stay Tuned – Next week “Ways to make vacations Work!”

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