How many vacation days did you use last year? Americans are notorious for not taking a break, in fact the average U.S. worker took less than 12 days of vacation in 2021, according to Expedia's latest Vacation Deprivation study - and that’s six fewer days than the global average.
But not taking time off isn’t helping people be more productive and the majority of workers say taking vacations actually makes them more motivated when they’re back on the job. Need a nudge to help you use the vacation days you’ve earned? Professionals with hectic schedules share how to maximize your PTO like a corporate exec.
- Plan your vacations in January - Right after you return to work from the winter holidays is a great time to plan your time off for the year, according to Kim Jones, PwC’s talent strategy and people experience leader. Every January she starts thinking about her travel plans for the rest of the year and she even spaces her yearly paid time off into quarters.
- Don’t include your phone number in your out of office - Expedia’s study finds that 63% of U.S. workers put their phone number in their OOO message, but you don’t have to. Even the president of Microsoft North America, Deb Cupp, doesn’t do this and she thinks being unavailable is a good thing. "I used to say, 'If there's an emergency, you can reach me via phone,'" Cupp says. "I stopped because everyone's definition of an emergency is different."
- Take a vacation from social media, while you’re at it - When you’re on vacation, social media can be its own distraction and that’s why Eric Han, head of U.S. safety at TikTok tries to take a break from it while traveling. He’s been known to delete apps like Reddit, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok from his phone when he’s on vacation or leave his phone in his hotel room on purpose.
- Keep your return date to yourself - To give yourself time to ease back into work mode, Melanie Fish, head of global PR for Expedia Group, recommends setting your out of office for a little longer than you’re actually out and keeping it “kind of a secret” that you’re back for as long as possible.
- Have a vacation accountability buddy - Priti Joshi, Bumble’s VP of global commercial strategy and operations is a fan of having a vacation accountability buddy, someone who will remind you to slow down and take a break, especially when work is demanding.