How Taking a Vacation Can Be Good for Your Career

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We all know the reasons why you can’t take a vacation right now: your clients need you; your boss needs you; you simply have too much to do…

But here are some benefits why making time for a vacation can be the best decision you can take to boost your career.

Time magazine reports that many Americans don’t take their allowed vacation time.  And they’re not alone.

A YouGov/Croner poll report that surveyed workers across 22 countries found only one in three workers take their full vacation leave entitlement.

Worse, today’s “always on” world of social media and mobile devices is making it harder for people to switch off when they are away correctly.  Time reports that 60% of respondents said they continue to work remotely while on vacation.

Why aren’t staff taking their allotted vacation leave?

Fears about heavier workloads threatened job security, and the potential impact on clients, colleagues, and career are preventing workers from taking their allotted leave.  However, not taking a leave in response to work pressures a strategy that is completely counter-productive.

It’s leading to a growing problem of “presenteeism”

when people show up at work when they are not fit to do so – and a greater risk of fatigue-related mistakes and accidents reduced productivity and an increased risk of burnout and family and relationship strain.

Business Optimizer takes a look at four critical benefits of taking a vacation to improve your career.

Reason #1: It’s good for your health

The Framlingham Heart Study tracked women in a Massachusetts town over a 20-year period and discovered that the women who took regular vacations were less likely to have heart attacks than their infrequently vacationing counterparts.

These results were echoed by a nine-year study of 12,000 men by the USA’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.  It similarly found a lower risk of coronary heart disease and lower overall mortality rates amongst those who took annual vacations.

Reason #2: It will help you de-stress

The American Psychological Association makes the point that vacations serve to reduce stress by removing you from activities and environments you associate with stress and anxiety.

It argues that making time to take your leave will help you return to work feeling refreshed and better able to perform at your best.

A study was undertaken at the University at Vienna, although small, points to the rejuvenating effects of vacationing.  It found that returning vacationers had fewer stress-related complaints such as headaches, backaches and heart irregularities – and they still felt better five weeks later.

Reason #3: It will help you be more creative

Every seven years, designer Stefan Sagmeister closes his New York studio for a year-long sabbatical to rejuvenate and refresh their creative outlook.

He argues that, over time, he adapts to the work environment and his work starts to “look the same.”  By taking regular extended and immersive vacations, he can bring new inspiration and creative focus to his work.

While we might not all be able to take such a dramatic approach to take vacation leave, his experiences highlight the need for vacation time and how falling into a rut at work can hinder your creative output.

Reason #4: You will be more productive

It isn’t just your creativity that suffers when you don’t take regular breaks from your work; your productivity suffers too.

A study by the Boston Consulting Group in the Harvard Business Review found that high-level professionals who were required to take time off were significantly more productive than those who spent more time working.

It’s a win-win for employees and firms: the Harvard Business Review reports that BCG leaders felt the payoff “is about far more than individual gains.

It’s about preserving a strong, engaged pool of talent and, ultimately, cultivating productive work processes for the long term.”


So, next time you’re wondering about how to ask your boss if you can take a vacation, remember that vacationing is the best relief for your health, your stress levels, your creativity, and your productivity.  Your vacation will be good for your work.