As the iconic rock group The Go Go’s would say, it’s time to get away! Summertime is here, and with that comes barbecues, sunshine, and most of all, vacation. For some of us, taking vacation days may be more of a stress than a relaxation. We may feel the need to work, even on our days off, or feel guilty for taking the time to unwind. So the question is, should we use all of our vacation days? Studies are now showing the answer to that question is yes. Gone are the days where it is frowned upon to use every day of your personal time off. In fact, some companies are even making PTO mandatory for employees to utilize.

Every company has a PTO policy, and in recent years, it has been discovered that employees are not taking advantage of this free time. In fact, a survey conducted by Google Consumer Surveys reveals that 42% of employees did not use a single day of their allotted time off in 2014. Japan has proactively responded to prevent overworking by creating more national holidays. The perception is that if everyone is taking time off, individuals will be compelled to do so as well.

I know, by now you’re probably filling up the rest of your vacation calendar for the year. However, there are a few things you need to do to help you enjoy your days off that much more. For starters, tie up loose ends before you sign off from work. Make sure all of your projects, clients, vendors, etc., are comfortable and supported while you are away. Train your coworkers on possible situations that may arise, and how to handle these situations. Set an “out of office” email response with the contact information to anyone who may be filling your spot while you are away. If you will not be in the office, the company needs to be confident that work will flow as smoothly as if you were in the office. What are your thoughts on vacation days? Comment and share below!