If you’re like me, you work to travel.
You can’t travel, though, unless you can get away from work. Even if you don’t have the travel-bug, staycations are worth it. But getting vacation time is necessary if you plan to get away at all.
Studies suggest that men who don’t take a vacation at least once a year are 32% more likely to die of a heart attack. It’s miserable to die for work. For that reason alone, you should vacation as much as you can.
The problem is, it’s easier to get a child to stop saying “no” than to get a boss to start saying “yes” to more time off. Here are ways to go up, up and away and far and away (yes, that’s two movie references in one sentence).
Negotiate vacation time before taking a job.
The absolute best time to arrange adequate vacation time (read: more vacation time than you’re offered) is to negotiate the amount of vacation you want — or think you can get — before you accept a job offer.
Before you sign the employer/employee contract, you have the leverage to negotiate more of what you want. The more the hiring manager wants you, the more leverage you have. Sure, you could negotiate yourself out of a job. But, in most cases, by the time negotiations start, the hiring manager has usually made their decision and put in the time to extend the offer.
If, during the negotiation, you feel like you’re starting to lose, stop. Just remember that negotiating before you accept an offer is optimal. Negotiating afterward isn’t impossible; it’s just improbable.
Negotiate vacation time before taking a promotion.
If you’re reading this article after you have a job, all hope isn’t lost.
Getting vacation time isn’t a matter of applying to another company, either. Just ask for a promotion within your current company. A job promotion often comes another opportunity to negotiate for more. You’ll already be talking about a pay increase, so you might as well throw in talk about a vacation increase.
It’s likely that your company has salary and vacation policies established by its human resource department, but everything is negotiable — especially for the right person for the right promotion. The better your current job performance and the better you interview for a promotion, the more likely you are to get the pay and vacation you want.
Swap increased pay for increased vacation time.
All salary negotiations run the risk of stalling. All businesses have budgets. Maybe the person hiring you doesn’t have complete control over what they can offer you. They probably have a range to stick to.
If you’re not satisfied with the salary or pay offered, negotiate your other benefits. Along with vacation time, you can ask for more sick time or the ability to work remotely on a regular basis. Everything’s on the table, so create the full-employee benefits package, commensurate with the job, you want.
Be awesome enough to request more vacation time.
Good companies do what they can to retain good employees — and keep them happy. If you’re not up for a job promotion and you don’t want to leave, you can still negotiate a vacation increase by being so awesome they can’t deny you one.
Being awesome isn’t enough, though. It also helps to be smart. Wait for the appropriate time and circumstances to ask about getting vacation time. If it’s a recession and your firm has frozen salary increases or is laying off employees, it’s not the time to ask for more vacation. If your boss is having a bad day or your team is overloaded, don’t bother asking for more time off.
If your company is performing well, your team’s firing on all cylinders, and your boss has a grin on their face, that’s a good time to ask for more.
Propose a remote work/play vacation.
Thanks to the internet and computers, more jobs can be performed any time of day from anywhere in the world. As time goes by, more businesses are acclimating to letting their employees work remotely, if only on a limited basis.
Studies show that providing employees with even limited remote-working flexibility can boost performance. Just this year, my husband’s employer approved employees working remotely to extend vacation time. Therefore, we can fly somewhere for a week-long vacation, and he can continue that “vacation” another week by working while we’re away.
To be fair, this is more of a perk for me than for him. But, he enjoys taking me out to dinner in an exotic location after I spend the day at the beach and he spends the day working pool-side (sarcasm off).
Take unpaid leave.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. If you aren’t getting vacation time as desired, you can always take unpaid leave. Unpaid leave isn’t always available, though. But, if there’s that option, it can be one way to get in some downtime.
Unpaid leave is just what it sounds like: time away from work without a paycheck. Remember, the more unpaid leave you take, the less take-home pay you end up with. Be sure your budget supports such a move and don’t sabotage long-term saving and investing goals.
Buy vacation time.
The option of last resort is to buy vacation time. Again, not all businesses offer this choice. Buying vacation time means your company will take money out of your regular pay in exchange for time off.
I didn’t know this was an option until I read my human first employer’s human resources manual a year after I was hired. It’s just as well because I started buying vacation time, thinking that it was incredible.
I sure did enjoy getting vacation time, but I didn’t love the smaller paychecks that followed. Unlike taking unpaid leave, vacation time that’s bought continues to plague you after your vacation ends.
Taking vacation is a good and necessary part of working. Too many of us (Americans) take too few vacations. While I’m doing my part to raise the average, make sure you do your part, too. If you need or want more vacation than you have, these seven tips will point you in the right direction.