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If you are one of the many employees who enjoy the ability to take paid time off once in a while, count yourself as one of the lucky few with an employer who cares about work life balance. Vacation days are a benefit that not all employers offer. In fact, they are not mandatory at all in the USA. This is a benefit that companies can choose to offer their workers.
This is not something to take for granted, so you may be asking yourself:
How often should I take vacation days from work?
It should not come as a surprise to you that the answer to this question is never the same for any two people, because every individual has very difference experiences. But when it comes to scheduling time off for personal or family reasons, it’s important that you handle this with care.
How often you take time off can be a reflection of your work and personal priorities, demands on your time, and your lifestyle choices. It can also affect work projects, co-workers and even customers at your job.
How to Know When and How Often to Take Vacation
To help you make the most of paid time off, without sacrificing your work success — here are some ways to know how often you should take vacation days.
Does taking time off help you to be more effective at work?
First and foremost, vacation days are meant for rest and relaxation. This benefit is designed to help employees recover from the physical and mental stressors of work. Consider how you feel when you come back from a vacation. Are you refreshed, do you have a renewed vigor at work, and do you believe that it makes you a better employee? If you are feeling burnt out, run down, or just need a mental break – now could be the right time to start requesting some vacation days off.
Is your boss OK with taking regular vacation days each month, or once a year?
In terms of how often to take vacation days off from work , this can come down to your immediate supervisor’s requirements to cover the department where you work. In some cases, you will have to book your vacation days off all at once. In other cases, it may be more beneficial to schedule your vacation days on a regular basis, such as one day per month. Check with your boss on what is the best way to maximize this benefit.
How much of a family friendly company do you work for?
Oftentimes, people get into work situations where they have little to no time allowed for personal or family needs. They may become overworked and burnt out. Vacation time can be the only reprieve. Do a review of your workplace and find out if there are family friendly policies that allow you to take time off easily or work a flexible schedule. Talk with your manager, because you may be able to schedule regular vacation days, change your scheduled work hours to correspond with your family needs, or work at least part of your week from home.
Are you facing upcoming project deadlines or a busy season at work?
If you are in the middle of a project and there is a deadline looming, common sense will tell you that it may not be a good time to schedule a week off. Or if you have a normally busy season coming up, you will want to avoid taking time off during this period. Instead, think ahead and schedule a much needed vacation well in advance or just after a deadline or heavy season has concluded. When you should schedule time off is often dependent on project, team, and client needs – so plan accordingly.
Is a family commitment, personal need, or special event coming up?
Paid vacation days can be a great benefit when it comes to prioritizing your life. Family commitments, preventative health needs, and even special events that require a day or two may be on the horizon. Check your calendar and then schedule your vacation days often, but in advance.
Does your employer offer vacation days on an accrued basis?
Lastly, check the employee handbook to find out how vacation days are earned at your workplace. In some cases, it may be on an accrual system – meaning you have to work a certain amount of hours for each hour of paid vacation time. Your human resource or payroll department can advise you how many vacation hours you currently have available, so you know if this is the right time to schedule some time off.