Not taking vacation can really harm your awesomeness

A week away from the computer screen may be exactly what you need to return to work as a happier, more productive employee.

Let’s not make this more complicated than it is. Studies on the value of vacation have shown over and over that getting away makes people happy. Happy employees work harder and accomplish more. Whether you are an employer or employee, don’t pretend that vacations aren’t valuable to your company or you.

Simply planning a vacation has been shown to boost happiness, even eight weeks before the departure date, according to a study published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life and later detailed in The New York Times. After booking your trip, it is recommended to add travel insurance to the mix to protect your travel investment. Then your vacation forecast will be looking sunny with a zero percent chance of stress.

Remember when you saw the Golden Gate Bridge for the first time? Or went zip-lining on your vacation in Costa Rica? Or laid out on the beach? Recalling a trip can bring a smile to our faces – and these are just the bookends.

Companies that give vacation benefits may come out ahead financially, compared to those chintzy with vacation time.

Fifty-one percent of employees in the U.S. claimed that they were less productive at work due to stress, according to the American Psychological Association. What’s more, job stress is estimated to cost U.S. industries more than $300 billion per year. It seems that both workers and companies aren’t benefiting from being bogged down.

While a little stress is normal, excessive anxiety can interfere with your productivity and impact your physical and emotional health. Several studies have highlighted a direct link between stress and health conditions, such as headaches, cardiovascular problems and a weakened immune system.

US gets short stick when it comes to vacation time
Compared to the rest of the world, the U.S. is serious lacking in the vacation department. The average time off an employee in Europe takes is 34 days. The average time off an employee takes in the U.S. is 14 days. All work and no play leaves our brains feeling as frayed as the corners of your childhood blanket.

By taking a vacation, we can tune out the noise and take a breather. Leave the burden of stressful work behind and spend time enjoying things you love. Trips grant the opportunity to make memories, share experiences with friends and family and see the world.

Benefits of a good break
There have been countless studies that say taking a break makes you more productive and creative. Mental concentration is similar to a muscle, John Trougakos, an assistant management professor at the University of Toronto Scarborough and the Rotman School of Management, explained to The New York Times. The organ becomes fatigued after sustained use and needs a rest period before it can recover – just as a weight lifter needs a rest in his workout routine to rebuild muscle.

It’s no shocker that after vacation, people tend to feel jollier and a bit more buoyant. Fleeing the eight hours a day behind a computer screen seems automatically uplifting.

Bonus perks of taking a trip
Besides boosting mood, travel is an eye-opening, mind-expanding experience where visitors get a chance to interact with new cultures, taste exotic foods and shake hands with perfect strangers. Augustine of Hippo once said, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”

In this way, traveling can make people more relatable, both in and out of the workplace. The employee who’s been to the town where your company’s boss grew up likely has a leg-up on things, as they can share their own stories from their time there. Speaking with clients who live in other parts of the world that you’ve seen can build bridges and give depth as well as a level of understanding to a first impression. Knowing the landscape, literally and figuratively, is strategic.

Happiness jumpstarts productivity
Once travelers return from vacation, they tend to be more productive, thanks to their lower levels of stress and higher levels of happiness. For one, stress relief allows us to regain energy and find simple solutions to problems that had seemed impossible to solve. It has also been scientifically established that taking vacations diminishes the incidence of burnout. Some studies have discovered that vacations boost intellectual function, as a well-rested mind that’s free of worry is often more effective.

Similarly, happy people are often better employees. Research published in The Journal of Labour Economics found that happiness can boost employee productivity by 10 percent. That PTO isn’t getting any riper.

Everyone wants to be happy. And vacations are a way to get there. That’s why neither employees nor employers should overlook the value of getting away. So, when you’re getting ready for your next trip, protect your travel investment by purchasing travel insurance.

Do you have any more trips planned this year? We’d love to hear in the comments where you are heading.

Travelex Insurance Services provides travel insurance plans with flexible benefits and features for all types of travel – leisure, business, group, student, adventure and more.