Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Alex North. Her opinions are her own.
As it is with anything that wireless communication has touched, vacations just aren’t what they used to be.
Compelled as we are to be constantly plugged-in, the division between business and leisure time has become so eroded that your Out-of-Office notification is essentially as useless as trying to fight a forest fire with a garden hose.
Some 66% of the American workforce regularly works during their vacation time. That is, if they’re even taking vacations in the first place. About half of Americans don’t use up all of their allotted vacation time and justify this decision by citing various reasons for why they are “too stressed” to take time off.
Too stressed for vacation? Deadlines, backlog, and ambitions for career advancement may all seem like compelling reasons to skip an upcoming trip. But science has shown time and time again that vacation isn’t just good for you, it’s good for your employer.
Americans have a complicated relationship with time-off, to say the least. Though part of this conundrum is attributable to the complete lack of a federally-mandated minimum for vacation days, workplace culture certainly has a role to play in this nationwide reluctance to take a break every now and then.
For their part, many employers are adopting policies that aim to correct this imbalance. From minimum vacation requirements to email-free vacation policies, some employers are calling for strict work/life boundaries as a way to force their employees to unplug.
But when the reality is that two in three Americans feel compelled to work during vacation anyways, perhaps the answer isn’t to staunchly defend these boundaries. What if workplace culture and vacation policies were created in order to support a more flexible, fluid, and free-roaming approach to staying on top of your work while still getting the time-off you need? “Workcations” offer one potential solution. But making them work for your company involves laying the cultural groundwork: