The Europeans Prove That Vacation Can Make You More Productive

Taking extra long holidays during summer is ne reputation that Europeans have.

Leaving businesses closed or operating on summer hours, the term “fellesferie” refers to two or three weeks of vacation time workers collectively take in July in Norway.

construction holidays called “bouwvak” for several weeks is taken by employees in the building industry in the Netherlands.

And in order to ensure that enough bakeries stayed open for customers during the holidays, a law required Parisian bakers to stagger their summer vacation time until two years ago in France.

the only country in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development that does not mandate paid vacation is the United States and therefor this trend for vacation can be an envious concept to many Americans. because of workplace pressures, many Americans who receive paid time off are afraid to take, research shows.

Contrary to the United States, which does not have a statutory minimum annual leave requirement, the European Union’s Working Time Directive guarantees EU workers at least 20 paid vacation days per year. According to the OECD, 25 or more paid annual leave days is required in the U.K., France, Austria, Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg and Sweden and hence some European countries mandate additional time off.

lower productivity is not necessarily the result of more time off, data show. Measured by GDP per hour worked, nine of the top 10 most productive countries in the OECD in 2015.

“The idea that we’re sacrificing this time off to get ahead, we’re not actually finding that’s true,” Denis said.

Compared to workers who took 10 or fewer days, workers who took 11 or more vacation days were more likely to have received a raise or a bonus in the previous three years, a 2016 report from the project found.

Creativity can also result in the time away from the office. Inspired on vacation were the ideas for major businesses, like Instagram, or the musical “Hamilton”.

“The productivity, creativity, bringing new ideas forward isn’t the person who’s working crazy hours,” Denis said. “It’s someone who’s getting outside of their day-to-day.”

less likelihood of a heart attack, better mental health and lower stress are some of the health benefits from taking vacation time, studies show.

“Vacations are important because they not only replenish the mind, they also reduce the physical effects of stress on the body,” said Kathleen Potempa, a professor at the University of Michigan School of Nursing.

According to Project: Time Off’s 2017 State of American Vacation report, workload stress is a top barrier to taking vacation. Fearing returning to a mountain of work, 43 percent of 7,000 Americans workers surveyed did not take time off, a survey of more than 7,000 Americans found. with 32 percent saying they cannot financially afford a vacation, cost was also a factor.

But a big impact on productivity can also be the result of short and frequent breaks away from the office, experts say. Potempa said that in order to improve health benefits, many studies recommend taking vacation twice a year.

When they’re on vacation, it’s important for workers to unplug from work, Potempa added. One-third of Americans work or check in with work on vacation, found a June survey from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs research.

“The most important thing is that it becomes regular and you don’t start skipping,” she said. “The major negative effects have been shown for people who don’t take vacation for several years.”

(Adapted from CNBC)


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