We have a vacation problem here in the U.S. By some estimates, about 40 percent of us don’t take all our vacation time every year. Generally, it’s because we’re worried about what will happen while we’re away from the office.

Will the department fall to pieces in my absence? Will an insurmountable pile of tasks accrue on my desk? Will my boss decide I’m not a team player because I flew to Costa Rica instead of putting in a week’s worth of 12-hour days?

The short answer to all these questions is that it doesn’t matter: The benefits of taking a vacation far outweigh any of the potential negatives – not to mention the fact that taking vacation time often leads to increased productivity and higher quality work upon your return. So even if your boss were eyeing your empty desk with disdain while you were gone, they’ll probably fall in love with you all over again when you return to the office and start churning out top-level work.

But vacation time isn’t just good for your employer: It’s also excellent for your mental and physical health. Sometimes, you have to escape the stress of the office for your own sake.

For a more in-depth look at why you shouldn’t hesitate to take all of your vacation days every year, check out this infographic from Expedia.ca. Sure, Expedia’s Canadian cousin put it together, but it applies equally well to we vacationally-challenged Americans.

And, if you’re an employer who doesn’t like it when employees take time off, you should look extra hard at the information presented here. It ought to change your mind about the benefits of PTO. As a boss, you should be encouraging your employees to take every vacation day they get, not crankily demanding they stay chained to their desks at all times.

12 reasons why your brain craves vacation time DV2

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