2018 is one of those unfortunate years where Independence Day falls on a Wednesday. Is there anything sadder? While most of us stayed local to enjoy the fireworks in our own neighborhood, here are some reasons why you might want to consider finally using your PTO in 2018.

pto in 2018

Project Time Off has some shocking statistics on the State of American Vacation in 2018.

52% of Americans left vacation days unused in 2017, resulting in over $255 billion lost in total spending.

The good news? This number is up from 54% in 2016, which is estimated to produce 217,200 jobs and boost the American economy by $30.7 billion. It’s great to see this number going up and there are many ways we can still improve.

24% of Americans haven’t taken a vacation in over a year.

Many employees don’t take time off because they fear the impact this has on their appearance at work – 61% saying they would appear less dedicated or replaceable. Others feel their workload is too heavy (57%) or that no one else could do their job while they’re out (56%).

While 84% of employees believe it’s important to use vacation days to travel, only 47% actually do so.

While more employees are taking a vacation compared to 2016, this might not necessarily mean they’re taking time to truly disconnect and recharge. Employees who travel report a higher chance of receiving a raise, bonus or both compared to those who don’t (86% compared to 81%).

How can you encourage employees to take advantage of their PTO?

1. Set an example.
We have a very flexible PTO policy here at PerkSpot. There is no limit to the number of days as long as you get proper approvals. While many offices have reported the idea of “unlimited” vacation days unsuccessful, it works for us. Employees are often seen roaming the streets of Cancun or spending time away with family. The reason it works for us is that it starts from the top down. Our CEO recently went away to recharge in the mountains of North Carolina. By setting an example for all of us on the importance of getting time away, we all feel more comfortable and empowered when it comes to taking the time ourselves.

2. Create a backup plan.
We are a small team at PerkSpot. With less than 40 employees, it can be hard to get away and not feel like you’re leaving a hole in your team. Recently, however, we’ve been finding ways to cross-train within our departments so everyone can have the freedom to truly get away and unplug. This has huge benefits not only to using PTO but also protects our office in the case of emergency or when an employee might decide to move on.

3. Make it part of your culture.
PerkSpotters love to travel and are constantly sharing photos of their recent adventures. It’s a fun way to encourage employees to get out and see the world. By embracing this shared interest and pushing others to pursue these opportunities, we’ve fostered a culture that values time off and flexibility.

These are just a few ways you can encourage employees to take PTO. Whatever you do, make sure you’re empowering employees to take time to recharge. Your bottom line will thank you.

About Katie Williamson

Katie Williamson is a Senior Marketing Associate at PerkSpot, providing creative insights and challenging the way we think about the workplace.

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