Taking a vacation is generally thought of as a boon to work-life balance, but what exactly are the recuperative benefits of time away? For World Mental Health Day, an international day for global mental health education, awareness, and advocacy, let’s take a look at five ways time off benefits mental health.
An alarming 89% of employees report experiencing burnout at their current jobs. Overworked employees are less happy, less engaged, and less productive than those who have a good work-life balance. Encouraging employees to take time to recharge their batteries can be a vital step in avoiding burnout and retraining employees in today’s competitive job market.
Taking time to recharge allows employees to return to their jobs reinvigorated and ready to give their best at work. Separate studies have found that:
The research shows rather than pumping the brakes on performance, vacations actually increase productivity.
Going on vacation can help employees gain fresh perspectives and energy. Research shows that exposure to new and different experiences—like those often encountered during travel—leads to fresh ideas and insights. A study by the University of Utah revealed that spending a few days in nature disconnected from all devices led to a 50% increase in creativity.
A recent study published by Nature found that people who see more changes in scenery day-to-day tend to be happier, which suggests that having new and diverse experiences while traveling can lift people's moods. One study found that after returning home, travelers felt well-rested, less anxious, and happier—and that these benefits lasted for weeks after their trips ended. And simply having a trip scheduled can also be a boon: Researchers found that the positive feelings of anticipating and planning a trip also offer a mental health boost.
Humans are social creatures that crave interaction with others; love and belonging are key psychological human needs. Traveling with family or friends encourages connection and allows people to be present with one another. Plus, it creates memories that can be shared for years to come; research shows that reminiscing may protect against depression and loneliness. Travel truly is the mental health gift that keeps on giving.
Time off helps employees feel engaged, healthy, and fulfilled. Yet American workers fail to use half of their eligible vacation time. Six out of 10 employees claim their boss doesn’t support time off, and 80% would take more time off if they felt supported by their employer. It’s clear that there is a disconnect between company PTO policies and the culture around taking vacations.
Navan can help companies support work-life balance. Companies that use the all-in-one travel, corporate card, and expense solution can give employees companywide unlimited, free access to book personal travel. It’s an easy—and free—way to support time off that can help create a PTO-positive workplace culture.