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The Balancing Act Of Vacation Time

February 20, 2015

Vacation time can be a difficult subject to deal with in the workplace. Most companies have a set amount of paid time off based on various elements that designate a person’s ‘right’ to more or less vacation. Other organizations famously have no limit on vacation time. No matter what your corporate culture is like, navigating time off can be difficult. While vacation can be refreshing and life giving, it also takes you out of the office and makes you unavailable. We wanted to know based on our expert’s experience and expertise how best to utilize your allotted time each year.

Can you take a vacation within the first 6 months on the job?

Megan from ADM said in response, “If you already had a vacation booked or know that you will need a particular day off, it is usually negotiable with your manager but it also depends on the company policy. It is valuable for you to be in the office especially if you are learning a new position, but most managers understand that things do come up or a vacation may have been scheduled before you took the position.”

Ellen from Hospira added, “Yes it is OK to take vacation within the first six months on the job.  I would suggest that you let your employer know you have scheduled vacation and generally that is not an issue.”

It seems that if you have a vacation planned in advance then it is wise to let your manager know that you will be taking time off as soon as possible. Most people understand that vacations are a part of life and they want to respect that time for you as an employee. However, it's important to note that not all employers will allow you to take vacation right away.

Is using vacation time valuable to my career or should I work more and take less time off?

An expert from Mutual of Omaha, Kacie, said, “Taking time off is not a negative thing and can increase an employees productivity upon their return.   Each company is different, so I would be sure to have open communication with your manager and ask what is expected as far as time off, especially in the starting months.”

Dana from ManpowerGroup answered with this very insightful response, “I would take all of the PTO you are given. If you get three weeks a year, take all three weeks. It’s important for you to have that balance, and establish this as a priority for your wellbeing. The only cautionary note would be to make sure you are not taking it all at once (unless they’ve told you this is OK), or during a “high season” when a lot of senior employees are off. You may need to be strategic about when you use your vacation time, to ensure adequate coverage for your team.”

When using your vacation allotment it’s important to consider not only what’s convenient for your personal life, but also for your professional life. For certain industries there are certain seasons that are busier, so understand you likely won’t use vacation time during those busy seasons. Instead take vacation a couple weeks after you’ve worked hard and things have slowed down.

It’s also vital that you actually use vacation to recuperate and regroup. Partake in activities (or a lack of activities) to recharge you body and mind, so you can return to work refreshed. If you vacation poorly, you’ll come back just as worn out as when you left. Utilize your paid time off wisely, and come back firing on all cylinders.

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