Americans aren't exactly known for their willingness to take vacations. We live in a workforce culture where you're expected to look busy all the time (although whether you're actually doing anything productive is a different story), and even if we do get up the courage to take time off, nobody likes telling their coworkers that they're going on vacation. In fact, according to a recent study of 2,300 workers, employees are so reluctant to take time off that they've started taking "stealth vacations," in which they neglect to inform their coworkers of their absence until a few days before they leave. I don't have to point out that this is a terrible habit, right?
Well, maybe I do, since so many people seem to be doing it. Not telling your coworkers until right before you leave is a terrible practice for several reasons. First, it potentially forces your coworkers to reschedule meetings and change their own workload on short notice, which doesn't exactly help your standing in the office. Plus, it's just inconsiderate. Second, agonizing over announcing your vacation plans creates stress where there honestly shouldn't be any — as Karen Firestone writes for the Harvard Business Review, "it's not as if [vacation]... is coming clean about a coke addiction."
Third, worrying about your vacation might make you less likely to take one, and study after study shows that time off makes you happier, more productive, and more creative. Basically, science is telling you to suck it up and take a few days off. Nobody is going to replace you if you're in the Bahamas for a week.
If you're still worried about how to tell people at work that you'll be gettin' your tropical tan on this time next month, never fear! Here's your official guide to telling your coworkers that you're going on vacation.
1. Plan early.
We all love the idea of spontaneous vacays, but trust me. Your workplace will love you way more if you finalize plans early on — the longer you wait to figure out whether you're going somewhere, the less time they have to plan. Which brings me to...
2. Give them plenty of notice.
We went over this above, but it bears repeating. Once you know you're taking a vacation, tell your boss and coworkers about it as soon as possible so they can plan accordingly.
3. If you can, try not to take vacation during busy seasons.
You might want to take off around Christmas, but so does everyone else. If your employer is awesome and you give them plenty of notice (ahem), though, you might be able to swing it.
4. Tell your coworkers, too — not just your boss.
Your boss may be the one you're required to notify, but your coworkers will appreciate the heads-up too.
5. Don't brag.
Once you tell people about your vacation, that doesn't mean you're allowed to brag about getting massaged on a Jamaican beach by two hot twins to everyone in sight. Not cool, bro.
6. Take your damn vacation time.
Again, a whole range of studies show that time off is vital for our mental health. You're not doing yourself any favors by holding off on paid vacation. In fact, you might even be hurting yourself in the long run.
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