Millennials are quickly becoming the largest generation in the workforce, but there is a growing trend among them that varies from their older coworkers. They’re using less of their vacation days because they feel afraid to ask for them and guilty using them, enter “vacation-shaming.” It seems younger employees feel “vacation-shaming” from their bosses and coworkers, and believe they’re being indirectly discouraged from taking time off.
Millennials vacation days remain unused
The amount of people who use all their vacation days has dropped in recent years in the US, and it has become an increasingly prominent trend among the younger generation of workers. According to the annual Allianz Travel Insurance Vacation Confidence Index, as many as 25% of millennials reported feeling nervous when requesting time off, as opposed to 14% of Gen X’ers and 6% of workers aged 55+. There is a growing sense among millennials that they need to demonstrate commitment to the job, even if it comes at a cost to their mental and physical health.
Protecting their professional image
Unfortunately, these stats are even more common with millennial women, who reported that only 46% of them had used their full vacation time. Women are more likely to feel guilty, replaceable, or want to demonstrate “complete dedication” to their job. Women also worry about the effect of their absence on their job, with fears of returning to too much work, or that no one else can effectively complete their tasks. Young women are more concerned with these fears than young men, as more men are taking advantage of their vacation days.
Vacations help employees and businesses
Not taking time to refresh and recharge can take a toll on your health, leaving employees burned out and demotivated. Vacations actually promote improved mental health and boosted productivity, making coming back to unsolved issues or extra emails worth the time away. Employees are also likely to come back with increased creativity and reduced exhaustion. Even though the post-vacation blues can kick in shortly once back in the office, don’t be discouraged from asking for time off. The long-term benefits are well worth the small struggle, even after the short-term benefits have faded.
Encourage learning vacations and retreats
While any time off can be rejuvenating, some vacations can do more for employees than others. Mastering new skills like new poses at a yoga retreat or taking a cooking class can reduce exhaustion in the days following your return. If your office is suffering from a slump, why not pitch the idea of a working holiday in a new inspiring space to your boss? Getting the team out of the office and into a new environment where they can learn, collaborate and explore will have them returning to the office with new levels of creativity and productivity.
Vacation days are part of compensation, and millennials, especially women, need to be reminded of this. Actively moving away from the mindset of advancing in a career through fewer breaks, benefits both the company and the employee. Employers also need to set an example and encourage their staff to take time off, while promoting a culture that wants its employees to be happy and healthy, in order to bring their best to their roles.
Written by Katie Tatham
This article was originally posted on Behere.