Photo: 澎湖陽光阿有專業浮潛 via Flickr
On Friday, the President of the United States will head off for his first official vacation, a 17-day outing at his Bedminster, New Jersey golf club. What’s amazing about that? Only that the president, a businessman, used to criticize others as lazy for taking vacations. His previous philosophy on time off was: “Don’t take vacations. What’s the point? If you’re not enjoying your work, you’re in the wrong job.”
The President is not alone in thinking like this. For many workaholics, taking any time off seems like an impossibility. How can the company run without me? Will my job still be there when I return? What if I won’t get that promotion if I take a day off?
Taking 20 days off makes a difference
But it turns out vacation naysayers are wrong. A new human resources report from Namely found that taking time off leads to promotions.
Yes, taking time off was a key factor among employees who received strong performance reviews. Analyzing the vacation and performance review data of over 125,000 employees, Namely found that employees who took more vacations days had much stronger performance reviews than their break-deprived peers.
It doesn’t take much time off to achieve this, either. Just taking five extra days was enough to make a difference. Low performers only took 14 days of vacation on average while top performers took 19 days off. What this data shows is that taking that afternoon off or extending your weekend may not seem like a lot, but it will have a lasting impact.
Beyond your performance at work, vacations have been proven to have financial and social benefits. A 2012 study found that people who take time off and “psychologically detach” from work are more satisfied with their lives and return to their jobs more engaged. A 2017 study even found that if you take a vacation, you’re more likely to get a raise.
So whether you’re a politician or an office worker, know that vacations make a positive difference in your well-being—even if you don’t immediately see it. “Wild, Unattached Twenties Spent at Work” is a fictional headline that pokes fun at a culture that can never relax. But it rings too true for many employees who sacrifice their personal time for their jobs. Always prioritizing work over your personal life may seem like a smart payoff, but in the end, the only one who pays a price is you.