"Taking advantage of vacation or paid-time-off benefits is critical not only to your well-being, but to your overall job performance," said Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder. "Workers who set aside time for R&R tend to have less burnout, more creative energy and higher quality output. While financial challenges and heavy workloads may make vacation planning difficult, it's important to find time to recharge away or at home. It can ultimately translate into a more gratifying work experience that benefits you, your family and your employer."
As the economy heals, more than one-third (36 percent) of workers reported that they feel more comfortable taking a vacation than they did in 2010. One-in-four (26 percent) are planning a vacation of 7 to 10 days while 11 percent expect to be gone 2 weeks or longer. Twenty-four percent are planning for 3 to 5 days or a weekend getaway.
Haefner recommends the following tips to make the most of your time off:
1. Give plenty of notice – 24 percent of workers reported they have had to work while their family went on vacation without them. Coordinate schedules with family and friends and co-workers as early in advance as possible, so you can plan vacations before/after big projects and events.
2. Don't take a guilt trip – 12 percent of workers reported they feel guilty that they're not at work while they're on vacation. Your vacation benefits are there for a reason. Enjoy yourself. The work will still be there when you return.
3. Ask about discounts – Many employers offer discounts on personal entertainment and travel for employees that may make vacation plans more affordable. Check out the company intranet or contact HR for more information.
4. Make sure you're covered – Buddy up with other co-workers to cross-train one another on responsibilities, upcoming deadlines, key contacts, where information is stored, etc. If your company may need to contact you for something while on vacation, make sure to set parameters on when you'll be available and stick to them.
5. Use 'em or lose 'em– 16 percent of workers reported they gave up vacation days in 2010 because they didn't have time to use them. If you can't take a number of days at once, consider taking a day here and there for extended weekends or mid-week breaks.