Labor Day Idea: Enhance Company & Employee Performance via Vacations

It came as no surprise, as much as I feigned shock and dismay. A two-day, late-summer getaway I’d planned with my wife for months was underway, and the requests began flowing: an e-mail asking for a quick review on one item; the I-know-you’re-out-but-am-leaving-a-message-just-in-case voicemail; and a series of texts from a client encouraging me to break away for an overseas conference call midday.

As Labor Day looms we realize we’re connected as never before, even to the point of mocking our lifestyles, as Christoph Waltz does well in the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 ad (“Americans, I don’t understand you. Working all the time, busy, busy, busy”). Factor in the demands on PR pros, many whose responsibilities fluctuate with the day’s news, and business and personal time too often are indistinguishable. Where does that leave the concept of vacation? Should PR leaders attempt to have employees use most or all of it?

Last year, 55% of Americans failed to take their full vacation allotment, according to a study by the U.S. Travel Association, a 13% increase from 2013. Looking over a longer horizon, the use of paid time off (PTO) was steady from 1976 through 2000, when the average redemption rate began a steady decline. A study from the same group this past June noted over the course of the last 16 years workers have reduced their vacations by one full week.


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