The Importance of Taking Time Off From Work

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Caroline Asirvatham




By Caroline Asirvatham, Msc Psychology

The amount of paid vacation time employees enjoy differs vastly depending on where they live. According to the World Economic Forum, full-time employees in the United Kingdom are guaranteed 28 paid vacation days annually, as well as nine paid public holidays. In Japan, workers receive 10 to 20 vacation days, based on their years of service, along with 15 public holidays. In the United States, although paid days off are not mandated, the majority of private employers do provide some paid vacation time and full-time employees earn on average 10 vacation days a year after one year of service.

Even when employees earn vacation time, they may be hesitant to use it. Some employees believe taking time off of work makes them look less committed to their organizations. Others have an intense, personal work ethic that drives them to the point of burnout.


The reality is, taking time away from work helps make us better workers. Just as we need to take care of our physical bodies, taking care of our minds and wellbeing is crucial to a healthy lifestyle. Encouraging regular time off from work is some of the healthiest advice employers can offer.

Here are just a few reasons why time away from work is so important:

  • Improved physical health. A number of studies have shown that regular vacations from work can result in decreased stress levels and improved cardiovascular health.
  • Improved mental health. Chronic stress can lead to anxiety and depression in some people. Taking time away from work can help replenish our emotional resources and guard against burnout.
  • Increased quality time with family. Scheduled time with family is one way to keep your family relationships in check.
  • Improved performance. Studies have shown that taking time off from work can actually help you perform better when you return to work. A break from the daily monotony of tasks can serve as a reset.
  • Fresh perspective. Time away from work and traveling can help you gain perspective and connect with yourself. When you are able to get away and be alone with your thoughts, you can contemplate on what really matters to you. A time of introspection allows you to observe and analyze your life.
  • Personal growth. When you take personal time or travel and experience new cultures and places, you have an opportunity to learn about yourself and others. This can also lead to more creativity. Don’t rob yourself of an experience you’ll always remember.
  • Time management. Planning to take time away from work can help you develop your time management skills. This process builds skills related to budgeting, prioritizing projects and delegating responsibilities. These are all important professional skills to have.

Whether vacationing hundreds of miles away or taking a day off to relax at home, the best commitment you can make is to take time for yourself. Spend some quality time with a very important person – YOU!

Workplace Options helps employees balance their work, family and personal needs to become healthier, happier and more productive, both personally and professionally. The company’s world-class employee support, effectiveness and wellbeing services provide information, resources, referrals and consultation on a variety of issues ranging from dependent care and stress management to clinical services and wellness programs. To learn more visit