Many employers are investing in health programs for their employees. It could be offering to co-pay for a gym membership, providing online health support programs, or providing on-site fitness centers. However, one important health benefit that employers have offered for a long time is vacation time.
Taking vacation time is important to one’s. In fact, a recent Forbes article states that taking vacation time “could save your life.” That may sound extreme to some people; however, multiple studies, such as one by the World Health Organization (WHO), claims that not taking time can do physical damage such as increasing the risk of strokes and heart disease. The study showed that people who work 55 hours or more per week are 35% more likely to have a stroke and 17% more likely to die from heart disease than people who work 35 to 40 hours week.
According to the WHO study, in 2016 745,000 people died from stroke and heart disease from working long hours. A lot of us are working longer hours and taking less time off since the pandemic. Many employers are short staffed and having a hard time finding enough people for open positions. That it puts extra stress on the rest of the staff to get the job done.
Vacations provide the much-needed break from our daily routine, which includes work and home. It benefits employers not to just provide vacation time as a benefit, but to make sure their employees use that time to truly unplug from work to refresh their mind and body.
A 9-year study was conducted on middle-aged men who were at high risk for coronary heart disease. The study found that the risk of mortality from coronary heart disease was reduced by the frequency of annual vacations.
Vacations help to reduce stress by allowing people to take a break from the everyday stresses that come with work and home. Who didn’t look forward to the long Memorial Day weekend that just passed? If having just one extra day off can improve a mood, how much more can a week or two of vacation do for us?
One psychologist, Scott Hyman, PHD is quoted as saying, “Excessive work without periods of recuperation and opportunities to engage in rewarding activities can lead to burnout or the development of mental health disorders.” And that "Our ability to respond to challenges, stay on task, and control our emotions and behaviors can be replenished with rest.”
Other studies have shown vacations help:
- Improve sleep
- Increase creativity
- Decrease depression and anxiety
Help your employees to be healthy; make sure they use their vacation time.