Article By: Australian Unity
Whatever your job, annual leave is often a crucial part of it. Our minds and our bodies need proper breaks from the workplace – and regularly! In fact, research suggests that taking annual leave for holiday purposes can boost workplace productivity, improve your mental health and extend your life. Do you take advantage of your leave?
The benefits of taking a break
More than a third of full-time employees in Australia have four or more weeks’ worth of annual leave accrued and a whopping 257,000 employees have more than 10 weeks, reports Roy Morgan (2016)#.
Not only does taking leave reduce your stress levels, it can lower the levels of anxiety and depression. Expedia’s study revealed a staggering 91% of employees felt less stressed and more relaxed by taking vacation time.
Taking annual leave may be one of the keys to living longer – annual leave boosts your immunity and people who take more holiday time are known to not get sick as often and it can lower the risk of a heart attack in the long run.
According to a study published in the Wisconsin Medical Journal, women who take holidays twice or more per year are less likely to become depressed, tense or tired. In fact, the researchers found that ‘the odds of being depressed increased as the frequency of vacation decreased’.
Better social life
The Wisconsin Medical Journal study also reported happier relationships among women who took regular holidays. ‘Women who took vacations more frequently were found to be more satisfied with their marriage, and their work had no impact on socialising with family and friends’.
Reduced risk of heart disease
Research by the Heart Foundation have concluded that heart disease is one of Australia’s biggest killers and physical exercise and nutrition is only half the story. You can reduce your risk of heart disease immediately by maintaining a work life balance taking breaks when necessary and remaining socially connected with your friends and family.
Greater workplace productivity
Like Netflix and Virgin, a Melbourne based company has introduced unlimited paid leave. Their belief is that their employees work more than the average 38 hours a week and should be rewarded, and encouraged to take what they want, and when. Founder and CEO Amantha Imber also states that the policy is working, with more people taking required leave but not abusing the policy.
"Unlimited leave policy has appeared to work, or more so, not backfired, when the policy is supported by leaders and managers who role model the desired behaviours." - Lead people scientist Chloe Hamman.
By law, all employees, excluding casual workers, are entitled to a minimum of four weeks paid annual leave for every year of service in Australia. This figure can vary from one employee to another depending on the type of job and the hours worked. Visit http://www.fairwork.gov.au for more information.
Take a break for your health’s sake
Taking annual leave is your body’s chance to recover from the demands of the workplace and ‘recharge your batteries’. So, if you’re a workaholic who needs an excuse to take a break then simply choose from one of the six benefits above and take that holiday!