Go­ing Up

When it comes to tak­ing time off work, could go­ing on a holiday re­ally boost your ca­reer? Look in­ves­ti­gates...

Look (UK) - - LIFE -

Are you about to turn on your OOO? Or maybe sched­ule in your next break? No? Still got to use up a lot of your holiday al­lowance? You’re not alone. While some of us have al­ready marked out our 2018 breaks, can you be­lieve that mil­len­ni­als are the gen­er­a­tion most likely to miss out on their al­lo­cated work holiday al­lowance? In fact, a whop­ping 77 per cent of us only take a third of our an­nual leave. But far from the mar­tyr­dom you might think comes with that, new re­search has re­vealed you could be harm­ing your chances of a pro­mo­tion (and there­fore a pay rise) by not tak­ing a break.

Stud­ies show that us­ing your holiday al­lowance is the best way to boost pro­duc­tiv­ity lev­els, and re­search com­mis­sioned by Hostel­world has sug­gested it makes you bet­ter at your job as it boosts pro­duc­tiv­ity and your own ex­pe­ri­ence within the work­place. Two thirds of those who’d trav­elled re­vealed their ex­pe­ri­ence had helped them to un­der­stand what they wanted to do with their life, while 51 per cent said it was use­ful in fig­ur­ing out where they wanted to go within their com­pany, mak­ing them more fo­cused and re­li­able. And that fig­ure in­creased when em­ploy­ers were asked. Hostel­world found that over 83 per cent of em­ploy­ers said they pre­ferred can­di­dates who’d trav­elled.

Why is it, then, that mil­len­ni­als like us are still not ful­fill­ing our an­nual holiday quota? Every­one knows how much bet­ter it is to be by a pool than on shift, surely? ‘It’s now July and I’ve taken no an­nual leave so far this year,’ says Amy Brad­bury, 30, a restau­rant man­ager from Lu­ton. ‘I for­get to plan ahead and then work gets on top of me. Plus I don’t want to leave my team in the lurch.’

Ac­cord­ing to ex­perts, there are sev­eral rea­sons for not tak­ing holiday – but the

top one within our age group? The new trend we’re call­ing ‘va­ca­tion sham­ing’. ‘Go­ing on holiday? Al­right for some!’ – tell us that isn’t a phrase you haven’t heard, or even used, in the past year?

In fact, we’re a na­tion of holiday shamers. A 2016 study re­vealed that 59 per cent of work­ers re­ported feel­ing shamed by col­leagues and bosses over va­ca­tion days. Like Amy, re­spon­dents in a re­cent sur­vey ad­mit­ted they feel guilt at even tak­ing a few days off, with 33 per cent claim­ing the guilt stops them ac­tu­ally go­ing away at all.

‘I’ve been shamed a few times,’ ad­mits Elsa Jame­son, 27, a care as­sis­tant from Wales. ‘I’m good at plan­ning my breaks and I like some­thing to look for­ward to, so I try to squeeze in as much time abroad as I can. But there are col­leagues who’ve been quite mean about it. I heard some­one talk­ing about me in the staff can­teen re­cently, jok­ing that I’m “al­ways away”. I worry it could af­fect my chances of pro­mo­tion, but I have a stress­ful job and I al­ways feel re­freshed when I’ve had time off.’

So who’s to blame for us not tak­ing our holiday – us, or the com­pany we work for? It turns out it’s a bit of both.

While your com­pany has a re­spon­si­bil­ity to en­sure you take reg­u­lar breaks, HR ex­perts re­veal it’s re­ally up to you. Ac­cord­ing to the gov­ern­ment, paid an­nual leave is a le­gal right that an em­ployer must pro­vide, while most five-day-a-week work­ers must re­ceive at least 28 days’ paid an­nual leave per year, which can in­clude bank hol­i­days.

How­ever, some com­pa­nies have taken things to new lev­els. The likes of Net­flix and Linkedin now of­fer staff un­lim­ited hol­i­days. ‘We al­low our team to take as much time off as they need per year,’ says Ali May­nard, 30, busi­ness di­rec­tor at PR com­pany Man­i­fest Lon­don. ‘Why? It’s im­por­tant in our in­dus­try to take a break, to switch off and to recharge. You don’t have to “save” days for emer­gen­cies and De­cem­ber is no longer the time of year when you have to use up re­main­ing days. Peo­ple al­ways ask if it leads to is­sues, but we’ve found it a hugely suc­cess­ful ini­tia­tive – treat peo­ple like adults and they be­have like adults. I feel it re­ally mo­ti­vates the team.’

Ca­reer coach Hol­lie Jen­son rec­om­mends try­ing to plan reg­u­lar breaks and days off at the start of the year, but if you missed that memo, start from now and work with your em­ployer for the best times for you. Trust us, it will be se­ri­ously worth it.

Is it time to let go of your holiday guilt?

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