When Time Off Work Is Good for Business

Joan McGuire

The state tourism agency wants businesses to encourage employees to plan for vacation.

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On January 28, employers are encouraged to tell their staff what may seem counterintuitive to some: Make plans to take time off work.

The last Tuesday of January is designated “National Plan for Vacation Day.” Launched by the U.S. Travel Association in 2014, it is designed to provide Americans an opportunity to rally around the importance of planning for vacation.

The initiative is gaining momentum across the U.S. as the notion of encouraging wellness in the workplace gains popularity. This is the second year that Travel Oregon, the state’s tourism commission, has promoted the event.

Travel Oregon is keen to encourage employers to take the initiative in encouraging their staff to use the day to plan vacation. Linea Gagliano, director of global communications for Travel Oregon, says evidence shows that employees who plan for vacation are more likely to take time off and perform better at work.

“When employees plan vacation, it relieves stress. They look forward to it. When they take it, they are happier and more efficient,” says Gagliano.

Employees who take their vacation time are more likely than those who don’t to have been promoted in the past year (27% versus 23%) and to have received a raise or bonus in the past three years (84% versus 78%), according to the U.S. Travel Association.

“Business owners need to know this is good for their bottom line. It results in return on investment,” says Gagliano.

Despite evidence that taking time off work is not only good for you but also good for business, most Americans do not use up all their allotted paid time off.

This is even more surprising as American workers have among the least paid vacation days of any western country.

In 2017, 52% of Americans reported having unused vacation days at the end of the year. The average employee takes 17.2 days of vacation; 47% of that time is used for travel.

Those who plan their vacation time in advance are more likely than average to use all their earned days off (53% versus 43%), according to the association.  

To promote the event, Travel Oregon is working with the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association to provide 20% discounts to hotels and resorts that are booked between Jan. 28 and Jan. 31.

It may seem self-serving for the travel industry to promote the initiative. But Gagliano says the agency just wants employees to book vacations and travel wherever they want.

“If you want to travel, why not do it in Oregon to help your fellow Oregonians? But if you want to plan a trip to Europe or Africa, you should plan it. You should do it for yourself and your company,” she says.     


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