Paid time off is a critical benefit for every organization. Taking time away from work is essential for your mental well-being and productivity. Even if you have a limited PTO package, there are ways to optimize this time away from the office. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your PTO package.
Take Long Weekends
It’s natural to want to hoard your days to avoid taking too much time off. But you can benefit from some days away from the office. One way to do that and only use one or two of your PTO days is to schedule time off around the weekend. If you’re off on Friday, Monday, or both, you’ll be able to benefit from a three- or four-day vacation without burning your time.
You may also want to look into taking extra time off in conjunction with federal holidays. For example, if your company is closed on Monday for Labor Day, take Thursday and Friday off the week before. Once again, compounding your paid days off with days you’re already out of the office helps you maximize it.
Stay Out of Office
When you set your email to have an out-of-office reply, make sure it means you’re genuinely OOO. Don’t check your email while you’re away from work, and don’t respond. People who receive your OOO response aren’t expecting it, so don’t train them to learn that you are never truly away. This is essential for your physical and mental health. Be serious when you take PTO.
Many North American workers have an unhealthy relationship with time off. We’re worried about taking it because it could prove the office can live without us. We’re afraid of retaliation or coming back to too much work to play catch up. But a more significant issue is career burnout. Without taking time truly away from the office, you put yourself at risk for higher stress levels, which can lead to serious medical problems like heart disease and stroke.
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