Retail Resolution: Use Your Accrued Vacation (All Of It!)


2016 Retail Resolution – Use Your Vacation Time…All Of IT!

On December 10th, Globoforce published a great blog post, ‘Tis The Season To Use Your Vacation. I have always read how important it is to use vacation time and step away from work but this article really quantified and qualified the importance of this. Here are some of the biggest takeaways:

“Americans are taking less vacation than at any point in the last forty years–just 16 vacation days today, down from an average of over 20 days taken 15 years ago.” This ‘lost week’ of vacation “is wiping out vacation traditions and taking a heavy toll, particularly on children.”

“Working parents may think they are shielding their children from work stress, but a commanding six in seven children report seeing their parents bring work stress home. Further, 75% of kids say that their parent is unable to stop working while at home.”

Brigid Schulte explained: “In our workplaces today, there’s a very powerful notion that the best workers, the ‘ideal’ worker, is someone who comes in early, stays late, eats lunch at their desk, travels at the drop of a hat, never has to rush off for the preschool play or child care pick up.” The ideal worker is “single-mindedly work devoted.”

I have written posts on topics such as Productivity in #Retail and Work/Life Balance In #Retail that cover some of the expectations of our industry to devote all of our time, productive or not, to work and being available for work (even while on vacation, PTO, and/or a sick day). But I digress…to continue….

Referencing a Harvard Business Review article, the blog post continues with some benefits to using vacation time:

“People who take all of their vacation time have a 6.5% higher chance of getting a promotion or a raise than people who leave 11 or more days of paid time off on the table.”

“Taking time off also improves important business metrics. Shawn Anchor’s research shows that with a positive, engaged brain, productivity improves by 31%, sales increase by 37%, and creativity and revenues can triple.”

I am embarrassed to say that until December 10th, I had never heard, nor had I sought information on how bringing work home truly impacted children. As a working mom, though, I could sense my children’s frustration when I would have to take a work call in the evenings, or on weekends while we were walking through the zoo, playing at the park, or during their sports practice/games, and depending on who was calling it could last 5 minutes or possibly be a 90 minute call. I could sense their frustration when, we were walking through Disneyland I would have to sit down to take a call from my boss [who’d approved my vacation time but just “had to ask me something” another field leader could have easily answered]. I could sense their disappointment when I had to be gone for their Halloween program in school for a Home Office meeting. If you would like to read the official Project Time Off Report here you go, *The Work Martyr’s Children* [it pairs very well with a bottle of wine].

Here is a great link to the Harvard Business Review article by Shawn Anchor, Are The People Who Take Vacations The Ones Who Get Promoted? – in this article you will read:

“94% of vacations result in higher levels of happiness and energy if you 1) plan a month in advance and prepare your coworkers for your time away, 2) go outside your city (the further the better), 3) met with a local host or other knowledgeable guide at the location, and 4) have the travel details set before going.”

“If you’re a salaried employee, and if paid vacation is part of your compensation package, you’re essentially taking a voluntary pay cut when you work instead of taking that vacation time.”Think about THAT!!

Be Your Best You In 2016

In a past blog post I have touched on the topics of taking your break and meal periods as well and how effective they are to maintaining a high-level of productivity throughout your workday. Here are some of those highlights and links for your review.

In the book “The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work “, author Shawn Anchor states “Making time to go outside on a nice day also delivers a huge advantage; one study found that spending 20 minutes outside in good weather not only boosted positive mood, but broadened thinking and improved working memory”

From Fast Company, 8 Reasons Why You Should Definitely Take That Lunch Break:

Your nutrition—particularly your glucose intake—will decide your productivity for the rest of the day.

These days, only one in five office workers reports taking an actual lunch break away from their desk, according to a survey by workplace consulting group Right Management. Yet taking a break—even for 15 to 20 minutes—is a proven way to sustain concentration and energy levels throughout the day.

-Get out and walk or other exercise: exercise has lots of benefits, including reducing stress, improving mood and increasing confidence and self-esteem. And another study showed that exercising can make you feel better about your body, even when you don’t see any physical changes.

The ambient sound of a café has been shown to be the most beneficial sound level for creativity. Moderate noise levels, unlike silence or a noisy environment, increase processing difficulty just enough to push us out of our comfort zones and into more creative thinking.”

You should be ensuring that you have time and coverage [if you are in a store] to step out of your area, get outside and clear your mind! No retail organization or boss should make you feel guilty about stepping away from your business for your personal health (physical and/or mental) and well-being. A big initiative that has become a bit of a hot topic is Wellness Programs in workplaces. Vacations, breaks, and meal periods definitely need to have a place inside those programs. Getting away from your area benefits your cognitive functions – a rest will support getting back to work for the remainder of your day with a refreshed perspective so that we can get a renewed ability to think, learn, and remember, reason, judge, concentrate, plan, and organize our responsibilities and obligations – which are all qualities our employers expect us to display. Your employer should be supporting and encouraging this initiative for their employees.

Now that you are armed with the information you need to make a case for your personal and professional well-being and growth, make it a 2016 Work Resolution to watch out for you! To take your vacation and PTO to help keep your mind and body productive, healthy, and happy!


Founder and Editor in Chief of Excellence In Retail. Published writer. Frequent Podcast Guest. Speaker. Twenty year [oy vey!] retailer. I am passionate about leadership development and workplace culture. 646 246 1380 | [No Sales Contact, please} But it you want to call just to say hello or have a question - that's awesome!

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