“I’ve decided to give you another week off….with pay!” Many of us have never heard those words, but a Columbia professor believes we would work better, and healthier, if we did.
In a recent article in the National Journal, Heidi Allen said she believes that paid time off may be the best way to encourage employees to adopt healthy habits. When asked if she thought time off is better than other incentives, Allen said, “Currently employers use things like information and encouragement, discounts on gym memberships, and health insurance premiums—and, less often, cash—to get employees to participate in wellness efforts. But small amounts of money might not be meaningful for middle-income employees. We need stronger incentives. To get more vacation time, government employees have to be promoted to management or earn it through accrued years of employment. Time off to spend with friends and family for travel or recreation would be highly incentivizing, and also good for employees’ mental and emotional well-being.”
Taking time off is difficult for many Americans. According to the US Travel Association, US workers failed to use 429 million days of paid time off last year. Those who get vacation time are taking less, while a quarter of Americans don’t get any paid vacation at all.
Master Card went so far as to create the one more day campaign to encourage people to take the vacation time they have earned. What do you think? Would more time off create a healthier work environment? And could it help fuel our goal of one day making Arizona into the Healthiest State in the Nation?!