"I'd love a vacation, but I just can't ... "

It’s a catch-22: Employees stressed to the max could really use a vacation, but they have too much going on to take one. And without a healthy balance of quality downtime, stress levels continue to mount.

According to a “Wellness in Travel” study of 1,500 Americans by Westin Hotels & Resorts, more than half of workers failed to take all their vacation days. And even though 58% of respondents felt the need for vacation, 64% canceled plans due to work worries. What’s most unfortunate? Of those surveyed, 48% said they were happier and more positive at work and home after taking a vacation.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts, the owner of Westin Hotels, wants to help. A new campaign intends to educate consumers on vacation health benefits, while also giving them a chance to win free vacations. Rest-deprived workers can visit to learn more and sign a pledge to tap their remaining vacation days before year-end. Each pledge taker is entered to win one of 200 four-day vacations at a Westin Hotel in the U.S.

Are you following Westin’s lead and making it easier for employees to get away? It’s important to create a culture that supports a healthy work-life balance that includes well-earned time off. The last thing you want is employees thinking it’s more trouble than it’s worth to take a little R&R.

Beyond an employee vacation policy that outlines days off employees are entitled to, you should create a clear, consistent procedure for employees to request vacation time and receive approval. While it’s prudent to consider peak times for your business and the availability of others to absorb vacationing employee workloads, managers need to be responsive and collaborative with any requests. Throwing your hands in the air and groaning when a request comes in doesn’t send a positive message.

It’s time to encourage employees to take time off – for their benefit, as well as the company’s!


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