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6 Ways Your Employees Benefit from Personal Travel

6 Ways Your Employees Benefit from Personal Travel

Are your employees hitting the road to avoid burnout? Here are some often overlooked benefits of taking a vacation. 

Get rid of your employees! OK, we don’t mean that literally, but enforcing your vacation policy can benefit your company in myriad ways. It also benefits your employees, especially if they use their time off to travel.

According to the U.S. Travel Association, the top three reasons employees choose to use their vacation time to travel are:

  1. Avoid burnout (58%)
  2. Say yes when family or friends ask them to join them on a trip (53%)
  3. Go visiting for the holidays (44%)

These reasons haven’t changed since last year. Interestingly, avoiding burnout is most important to workers in health care and business services fields, whereas relaxation and stress reduction are #1 among workers in technology and the media.

What’s So Great about Leisure Travel?

Some benefits of leisure travel are obvious, but others are less so.

  1. Personal growth
  2. Indelible memories
  3. Relaxation
  4. Getting in touch with your own backyard
  5. Becoming a better/happier employee
  6. Great bonding experience

You can experience and learn new things and, in the process, discover something new about yourself, as well as the world around you. Foreign travel builds confidence in your ability to handle the unknown and the unexpected.

You can take a group tour to someplace or literally create your own adventures. Either way, the sights, sounds, aromas and tastes will stay with you forever.

Downtime boosts wellness. For some, relaxation means doing nothing more taxing than lounging around, reading, or strolling the beach. For others, it’s shaking things up and taking on the extreme experience of a lifetime (skydiving, anyone?).

Travel doesn’t have to take you far. A staycation allows you to see local sights you’ve never experienced before. Take on the perspective of a tourist. You'll probably uncover something new in the city you call home. 

Travel helps renew your sense of perspective. It can help remind you that, yes there is an achievable balance between your work and the rest of your life.

If you have a spouse or family, head off as a group for a shared experience. Or just some of you can get together for a special kind of trip — a guys-only or women-only vacation, for example. These same benefits apply to groups of friends traveling together. 

Really, it doesn’t matter what your employees do when they travel. What matters is that they leave work, and the rest of their usual routine, behind to do something else for a while. It’s all about change of scenery and change of pace.

Travel is Great – Talk It Up!

Some employers now insist that their employees use the PTO they have earned. While you could take a “tough love” approach by eliminating the ability to accrue vacation from year to year, less drastic measures can be very effective.

Set a good example

When top leadership takes vacation time, it sends a positive message throughout the workforce. Some employees might be hesitant to take time off because they don't want to appear lazy or like their slacking off. Or maybe they're looking for a promotion in the near future and feel the need to prove themselves. When company leadership takes vacation it sets a precedent for the rest of the team that days off are okay — even necessary. 

Give them the tools

The U.S. Travel Association notes that employees would be prompted to take their vacation time if:

  • They could get discounts on flights, hotels, rental cars, etc. (30%)
  • If their work made it easier for them to go (18%)

When you allow all employees to use your corporate travel booking tool for personal travel (Lola.com, for example), you are directly addressing both of these motivators.

Help them develop a vacation strategy

Deliberately planning a trip ensures the person will follow through, and it helps them get the most from their time off. “Most” being whatever they wanted to achieve — whether that’s next to nothing or ticking the next Seventh Wonder of the World off their bucket list. With prior planning, employees not only reap maximum benefit from their time away, the anticipation that builds prior to the trip can serve as a stress-reliever, too.

This argues in favor of taking multiple, shorter trips, so as to repeat this cycle of benefits multiple times. On the other hand, for those who have a difficult time detaching from the office mentally as well as physically, longer travel periods may be better.

Did you know that January 28, 2020 is National Plan for Vacation Day? What a great opportunity to promote the benefits of travel to all your employees and help them get started envisioning and organizing their next leisure experience.

Share the joy

Encourage returning employees to share their travel experiences with co-workers, informally and perhaps even in a more structured setting such as a brown bag lunch slide show

Colorizing the Big Picture

Your company invests (perhaps significantly) in continuing education, training, trade association memberships, etc. to help employees expand and sharpen their professional and other business skills. But who they are as a person affects everything about their work experience and your experience with them as their employer. Encouraging vacation travel is one way you can support both personal and professional development, with potentially far-reaching results.

About the Author: Jeanne Hopkins