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MasterMinds: Have You Tried Rebooting?

June 07, 2017 - Article
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**Editor's Note: MasterMinds is a biweekly feature in which we invite leading master agents to share information, insights and expert opinions about what’s going on in their agencies, the IT/telecom channel or the business community in general.**

Late May and early June mark the beginning of the summer vacation season. Classes graduate, schools close, waterparks open, lawn furniture is pulled out of storage — and approximately 375 million paid vacation days go unused by U.S. workers, according to Lonely Planet.

In its "The State of the American Vacation 2017," Project: Time Off, a research arm of the U.S. Travel Association, reports that "by forfeiting vacation days, American workers gave up $66.4 billion in 2016 benefits alone. That means that last year employees effectively donated an average of $604 in work time to their employer." Interestingly, though, the impact of those "donations" on American businesses' bottom lines could be surprisingly negative.

According to another report from Project: Time Off, "The High Price of Silence: Analyzing the Business Implications of an Under-Vacationed Workforce," there is $272 billion in accumulated vacation time sitting on the balance sheets of U.S. businesses, an indication that employees have their work/life ratio out of balance — and that's not good for anyone.

"This is a $272 billion wake-up call for America's business leaders that they cannot afford to ignore vacation," said Katie Denis, a senior director for Project: Time Off and author of the report. "Beyond the red mark on the balance sheets, not taking time off hurts employee engagement and productivity, affects talent retention and expedites burnout — all of which hurt a company's bottom line."

The report cites management's contradicting vacation beliefs and behavior for creating a growing "work martyr" culture. While 93 percent of managers surveyed believed in the importance of time off, nearly 60 percent reported leaving time on the table, compared to slightly more than half (53 percent) of employees. Senior management was considerably worse, with two-thirds (67 percent) of executive and senior leaders leaving vacation unused.

As companies look for competitive advantages in the benefits arms race, increased consideration needs to be paid to…

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