Wanna Get Away? Your Company May Pay To Help You Out

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In 2013, the average member of the American workforce put in 1,798 hours of work throughout the year. That ranks in the top ten with other nations like Mexico, South Korea and Russia, to name a few. With all those hours logged, you might think that those employees would jump at the opportunity for some rest and relaxation.But that isn't the case. For some, the idea of taking a vacation is out of the question. In some situations, not going on a vacation is like a badge of honor. Or, as FullContact chief executive Bart Lorang told the Wall Street Journal, he calls it "misguided hero syndrome."

Don't get upset, non-vacationers. Your hard work doesn't go unnoticed. A 2012 German study in DIW Economic Bulletin found that those who took less than their allotted vacation time earned 2.8% more than their colleagues in the following year. Yet, the pay raise can come at significant health problems.

Those who refuse to leave the workplace often end up dealing with fatigue, heart problems and declined morale. Externally, the worker's productivity tends to decline, while their relationships in and out of the office begin to strain. Yet, the solution isn't all that simple.

For some, a vacation is out of the question financially. Similar to those looking to move up the career ladder, others don't leave because they need the money. For someone who can barely make ends meet, a vacation is the last thing they can afford – whether they would like to take one or not. Others feel that the post-vacation return to stress and backlogged work load isn't worth it. For the "misguided heroes" out there, many of them get a sense of pride in never leaving the office, or being the office's go-to person.

With a myriad of reasons to use, managers are stepping in: mandatory vacations for all. In the quest to give every employee a work-life balance, companies are stepping out of conventional American approaches to work vacations.

In 2011, California's Evernote began offering unlimited vacation days. Employees were understandably hesitant, thinking it was a setup. Instead, the company doubled down on its mandate by offering $1,000 to employees to use for their time away. Evernote chief executive Phil Lubin says it helps employees return with their minds 'stretched out.'

In 2012, FullContact upped the ante, offering $7,500 for employees to help fund their trip -- quelling most worries about affording time away from the office. Other companies have begun mandatory two weeks off per year rules with an unlimited cap. In the case of Evernote, employees with unlimited vacation days tend to average 10 days out of the office before returning.

By taking some time off, employers hope that their most relentless workers will return with clearer heads, lighter hearts and the assurance that the office won't crumble without them there. It may be a forced vacation, but if this trend catches on employees may learn how to ease up and relax once in a while.
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