Vacation Deprivation

A vacation deprivation crisis: Americans are not using their PTO

(BPT) – Americans need a vacation. More than half of working Americans, 52 percent, didn’t use all of their PTO last year, collectively leaving 705 million vacation days on the table. That means employers got 705 million of your hard-earned workdays for free. For the love of Jimmy Buffett, people, why are you essentially volunteering at work on your PTO days when you could plant yourself on the beach with an adult beverage instead?

The reasons range from fear to affordability. People are afraid they’ll get behind on their work, or return to a mountain of to-dos when they get back. Some think nobody can do the job in their absence, and others are afraid the office would buzz along a little too happily without them. In some workplaces, the boss sets the tone. If he or she never takes PTO or checks in constantly while on vacation, it sends a not-so-subtle message. For some, money is a factor, saying vacations put a strain on their budget.

It all adds up to a vacation deprivation crisis, and at Landshark Lager, they wanted to do something about it. Landshark Lager partnered with Project: Time Off to raise awareness about the fact that Americans aren’t using the PTO days they’ve earned. They sent a letter to the CEOs of Florida-based companies, asking them to give their employees an extra day off over Labor Day Weekend. It was intended to start the conversation about the U.S. becoming a no-vacation nation, and create a movement away from work martyrdom and toward relaxation and renewal.

Summer is winding down, but it’s not over yet, and you don’t have to live in Florida to enjoy it. Here are some ways you can get around your objections to taking PTO and relax, refresh and revive.

* Just take one day. You don’t have to take an entire week off. Starting small and giving yourself a long weekend can do a lot to recharge your batteries, and it won’t put you behind the eight ball at work when you get back.

* Start a PTO savings account. If money is the reason you haven’t been using your PTO, sock $25 away each week. You likely won’t even miss it, and in a year’s time, you’ll have a PTO stash that you can use to take a vacation.

* Plan ahead. Give your manager ample notice by scheduling your PTO well ahead of time, especially if you’re angling for days off around a popular holiday. You’ll beat your co-workers to the punch.

* Daydream about your ideal PTO. Are you looking for adventure, travel, a weekend at the beach or a lazy staycation?

* Use it before you lose it. Ignorance is not bliss; stay organized so you know how much PTO you have. Not all days off roll over to the next year, so knowing your workplace policies is vital to you getting those hard-earned days that you deserve.

* Make plans with friends and family. Rent a house on the beach with close friends for a long weekend, or get away with family. Making it a group effort encourages everyone to use their PTO.

* Create a pro-PTO culture at work. Talk about your vacations and encourage co-workers to do the same. Share your vaca photos, and encourage people to completely unplug when they’re taking time off. You can change an anti-PTO culture, one beach selfie at a time.

There is still plenty of time before the end of the year to use your PTO. Don’t let your hard-earned days languish on the table. Grab a beer, a paperback and a lawn chair and enjoy the last days of summer at the beach. For more information about getting your beach on, visit the Landshark Lager Facebook page or send them a message on their Instagram page.

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