The Interesting Relationship Between Vacation and Productivity

It’s a cultural article of faith in many sectors that vacation time has a negative impact on productivity.  The deeply ingrained work ethic is the lens many of us look through to arrive at this conclusion. But that lens is somewhat distorted. Recent research reveals that quite the opposite is true.  More than 3/4s of HR professionals polled in a study conducted by Project: Time Off stated that employees who took most, or all their vacation time were more productive than colleagues who failed to do so.  They also reported higher job satisfaction among members of this group and superior overall job performance. Think about it a minute.  When people are tired and irritable, they’re not at their best.  When people work through weekends and push vacations to the back burner, they can burn out. How useful are burned out employees? Not very.  Human beings need time off.

Rollover vacation time – great for employees?

The rollover model of vacation time assignment may seem like an advantage to employees.  Unfortunately, when faced with a heavy workload, the rollover option can mean exhausted employees and heavy payouts when they burn out and leave, taking their unused vacation with them, as severance. With the “now or never” approach (where vacation time must be used in the year it’s earned), employees were much more likely to take all their vacation time, returning to work refreshed – and even regarding what they’re owed by the company. No payout. Of the “now or over” companies participating in the Project: Time Off study, 70% stated that employees in their model were more likely to stay on long term and return better results. Just over half the companies employing the rollover vacation model agreed. Sooner or later, companies will pay for employee vacations.  It’s part of the deal.  You either pay now, or pay later when those accumulated vacation days become part of a severance package, or employee retirement.

People aren’t machines.

Even machines need a break for routine maintenance, every so often.  When they don’t get that, they break down.  Human beings aren’t machines, so the principle here is even more compelling when applied to your human resources. People need time off.  The interesting relationship between vacation and productivity resides in the role of rest and retreat. The meaning of the word “vacation” is instructive in this discussion.  It means to “leave (vacate) your daily routine.”  In doing so, your perspective is refreshed, with body, mind and soul having been given the rest every human being needs to thrive.

Incentive Travel Group.

Incentive Travel Group is an outsourced provider of incentive travel programming, planning and implementation.  For more than 20 years, we’ve been creating effective incentive programs and supporting the corporate travel needs of businesses like yours. Our outsourced solution frees your human resources to pursue your organizational goals, bringing top-level expertise and experience to your incentive and corporate travel programming. For logistical excellence, creative incentives and an extension of your existing human resources, contact ITG. Discover the ITG edge.

Let’s Get Started

Let’s Get Started

Planning a Group Trip?
We can help.

start planning

Case Studies

Boosting Retention Rates
Providing Sales Incentives
Building Employee Teamwork
Improving Employee Recognition


  • Evan Polin
    Sandler Training

    "I've been working with Bruce and his team on two projects and they've been great to work with. Bruce has helped us set up a referral/incentive program for us to roll out with our clients and strategic partners. Bruce was great to work with. He's set up a 7 tier program that allows for flexibility and he's also helped us to market the program."

  • Kevin O'Keefe
    Vice President World Wide Sales, Maginatics, Inc.

    "Beverly arranged and managed the early Envivio Sales incentive trips for us. Each of our events was an outstanding and motivating experience Our Sales team appreciated the attention to detail and to fun. Qualifying for the "trip" was a motivating factor behind many end of year sales pushes. I will use Beverly again in the future."

  • Mickey Poorman
    Laird Technologies

    "Peak Performance’s attention to detail and personal service made me feel like I had a true corporate meeting planning partner that I could rely on throughout the planning process right up until I was on site. I look forward to doing more meetings with them."

  • Marco Lopez
    C& J Energy Services, Inc

    "I have used your services two years in a row and you all have made my vacation a great one. You have the most helpful and considerate employees. Always very friendly, respectful and willing to make my travel experience a good one. Thank you and keep up the great job."

Latest Blog Post

Bucket List Destinations for your next President's Club

Are you looking for some inspiration for your next President's Club or sales incentive destination? Look no further than this...

Contact Us