I subscribe to taking vacations, and I always feel better on some level when I return. In my opinion they are essential to our mental health.
If something must exist for it to be broken, then U.S. national vacation policy cannot be broken, because there isn’t one. Here’s a graph of federal paid annual leave policies across advanced economies in the OECD. Look to the far right. See us? We’re the one at zero.
So, America is exceptional. But not wiser, perhaps. The science of productivity is pretty clear that anything from a coffee break to a two-week vacation can make us better workers by replenishing our energy and attention and allowing our brains to make new connections that are obscured in the daily grind. Even at companies that offer vacation time (the vast majority of them), Americans often don’t take advantage. We like working, or at least we’re so afraid of not working that we deny ourselves breaks that might, paradoxically, make us more productive in the long term. Are we crazy?
Since it’s August, and you’re either on vacation yourself or barely working at your desk, I wanted to turn the question over to you. Instead of focusing on the national level, l want to hear from your personal experience. What kind of vacation and time-off policy does your company offer, and — most importantly — do you agree with it?
Let’s hear what you think, Tumblr: Is there a smarter way for companies and employees to work together to create a schedule and vacation policy that maximized both our happiness and even our effectiveness?
We’ll collect the best answers and publish them later this week. As always, the longer and smarter your response, the more likely we’ll publish it.