Taking a Vacation Increases Chances of Promotion

New research indicates that using paid time off can actually help you get a raise By: Michelle Juergen
Taking a vacation can contribute to success in the workplace. // © 2015 iStock
Taking a vacation can contribute to success in the workplace. // © 2015 iStock

The Details

Harvard Business Review

Project Time Off

U.S Travel Association

Recent data from Project: Time Off, a new initiative from U.S. Travel Association, indicates that taking a vacation may increase the likelihood of getting promoted. 

Why It Matters:
Americans are taking less vacation time than they have at any point in the last 40 years, according to research from U.S. Travel Association. However, people who take all of their paid time off have a 6.5 percent higher chance of getting a promotion or a raise than those who leave 11 or more vacation days unused. This is because “smart vacations” — those planned in advance, farther from home and aided by an expert host or guide — result in higher levels 

of happiness and energy that travelers bring back with them to work, leading to greater productivity, intelligence and resilience. Getting out of town just may be the smartest work decision you’ll ever make. 

Fast Facts:
- When the brain can think positively, productivity improves by 31 percent, sales increase by 37 percent and creativity and revenues can triple, according to research cited by Harvard Business Review writer Shawn Achor in his book The Happiness Advantage. 

- The average vacation often yields no improvement in people’s levels of energy or happiness upon returning to work because of travel stress, according to a study from the journal of Applied Research in Quality of Life in 2010.

- However, 94 percent of vacations result in higher levels of happiness and energy if the employee plans a month in advance and prepares his or her co-workers for the time away; travels outside his or her city; meets with a local host or other knowledgeable guide at the location; and has the travel details set before going, according to research done by Achor and Michelle Gielan of the Institute for Applied Positive Research.

- Managers associate personal happiness with productivity, according to research from the U.S. Travel Association. When asked what vacation-time benefit would propel managers to persuade their employees to use more paid time off, the top benefits noted were increased personal happiness (31 percent) and productivity (21 percent). 

- Most important: Leaving vacation days unused is essentially taking a pay cut. Achor points out that if you’re a salaried employee and paid vacation is part of your compensation package, you’re voluntary handing back part of your paycheck to your employer when you work instead of taking that time off.

What They Are Saying:
“Many people don’t take time off because they think that it will negatively impact their manager’s perception of them,” said Gary Oster, managing director of Project: Time Off, “But, that isn’t the case at all.”