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You & Your Team Deserve Your PTO

As vacation season approaches, it’s a great opportunity to discuss a topic that might be on the back burner for many professionals: the importance of taking paid time off (PTO). It may come as a surprise, but a recent Pew Research study found that more than 4 in 10 U.S. workers do not use all their paid time off. This statistic opens up a crucial conversation about work-life balance and the benefits of fully utilizing PTO.

Why Taking PTO Matters

  1. Mental and Physical Rejuvenation: Continuous work without substantial breaks can lead to burnout, decreased efficiency, and a toll on physical health. Time off allows both the body and mind to rest and reset, leading to improved productivity and a happier, healthier life both in and out of the workplace.
  2. Increased Job Satisfaction: Employees who take full advantage of their PTO often experience higher job satisfaction. This isn’t just good for the employee; it’s beneficial for the employer as well. A happy employee tends to perform better and show greater loyalty to their company.
  3. Encouraging a Balanced Lifestyle: By taking time off, you signal to others that personal time and work-life balance are valued within your organization. This can encourage a more positive workplace culture where employees feel valued and cared for.

Overcoming the Guilt of Taking PTO

Many employees feel guilty for taking time off, worrying about the pile-up of work they’ll return to or the perception that their absence might hinder the progress of their team. However, it’s vital to recognize that taking PTO is a crucial aspect of work. Not only is it a right of employment, but it’s also necessary for maintaining long-term productivity and creativity.

Leaders and managers play a critical role in this. By openly encouraging staff to take their allotted PTO and leading by example, they can help assuage this guilt. When management stresses the importance of rest and recharging, employees feel more comfortable taking time off.

Making the Most of Your PTO

With the vacation season on the horizon, now is the perfect time to plan how you will use your PTO. Here are a few tips to ensure you make the most of your time off:

  • Plan Ahead: Look at your schedule and plan your days off around important project timelines. This minimizes stress for both you and your team.
  • Communicate: Make sure your team knows when you will be away and work with them to prepare for any needs that may arise in your absence.
  • Disconnect: Try to disconnect from work emails and calls during your time off. This helps you return to work reinvigorated and truly refreshed.

Encouraging everyone to use their PTO not only supports individual well-being but also fosters a more energized, committed, and productive team. As we look forward to the warmer months and the breaks we might take, remember that using your PTO is not just a perk—it’s a vital part of maintaining your health, happiness, and effectiveness at work.

by Emilie Aguilar


Learn More About Gateway 

Gateway connects people to their worlds and aids individuals in their ability to understand and to be understood. Gateway has grown into an organization that serves more than 4,000 children and adults every year, helping them communicate more effectively. With programming both on our Baltimore campus and through community-based programming, we provide education, access, and medical support to anyone who needs it.

We envision a society where everyone can understand and be understood and where everyone is treated with integrity, compassion, and equity.