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Tips to Take Your Vacation Days Guilt-Free

take your vacation days guilt-free
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Guilt-Free Vacation Days

Key Points
  • Over 700 million vacation days went unused last year because employees feel guilty taking time off.
  • Ways to eliminate guilt when taking time off includes speaking with HR to learn what the policy is when taking your vacation days.

According to some reports, over 700 million vacation days went unused last year in the United States. That means people didn’t take days that a company has already told them it is OK to take. And why? A lot falls onto the management styles of companies today, where overwork is the new normal. But if employees are stressed, tired, or anxious, they won’t be as effective as if they’re relaxed and calm. Taking vacation days you’re entitled to shouldn’t be something you feel guilty about.

Plan Out Your Vacation & Speak with HR

To that end, plan out how many days you have, and get really clear from your HR department what the policies are. Some companies will not allow employees to take off more than two weeks in a row, some encourage a month off but limit days the remainder of the year. Really understanding your company’s culture and policies can help you feel more comfortable taking the time you’re given.

Realize that You NEED Vacation Days

Once you know how many days you have coming, and when you accrue them, it’s time to start planning. Look at what areas of your life need to be tended most. Do you need a tropical vacation? A staycation where you learn about the city you’ve just moved to? Look into different options and make a plan. Price out different times of the year, making certain you’re not conflicting with any “blackout dates” your company or department may have.

Save to be Guilt-Free About Spending Money

Save, save, save! If you know in advance how many days you get, and when you can take them, you can decide on your vacation with enough time to save up for it. This ensures you don’t have to put your vacation (or staycation!) on credit, which can just add more stress to your life and be difficult to pay off if you are not disciplined. If buying a plane ticket in advance gets you a better deal and you have to put it on a credit card, that’s just something you need to plan for. Then saving will pay back the amount you put on credit before the vacation even occurs, and you can fly or sail off without having that as a worry. And even though you can’t stay in the vacation home or Airbnb that your Self-Directed IRA owns, you can find countless affordable accommodations!

Suggestions for the Boss…

If you’re an owner or a manager, make sure you’re encouraging your employees to take the days that they’re entitled to, and not guilting them into coming into the office or checking email even though they’re really scheduled off. Every company is doing more with less these days. There may be fewer employees working longer hours, and an expectation that vacation days are not really valuable for an employee. Don’t fall for that.

Make a determination as the owner or manager that vacation days, and your employees, matter. Get serious about your people taking time for themselves and their families. And even if the remaining employees have to cover work that won’t wait, don’t guilt a vacation-taker. All of your employees should take their days and take their turn. And you’ll want to take some time off, too, eventually. That means others will be covering for you, too. And think of it this way: the well-being of your employees is one way for your business to succeed.

Essentially, vacation days are one of the few things we can look forward to throughout the year. Hopefully these tips will allow you to take your vacation days guilt-free.

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