Vacation Time

Two Adirondack chairs on a wooden dock facing the blue water of a lake in Muskoka, Ontario Canada. Life jackets are visible near the chairs. A canoe is tied to the pier, paddles are stored inside.

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Going on a vacation or taking time away from work improves employees’ productivity, as well as their energy and focus within the workplace. Employees then can come back to the office refreshed and excited to get back to work, which translates into better productivity, higher quality work, and more energy in their workplace. Organizations and supervisors supporting employees taking vacation time increases the retention of employees and their loyalty to the organization, as well as increasing their job satisfaction (Vinocur, n.d.; Mohn, 2014). Almost 70% of employees feel more satisfied with their jobs if they take regular vacations, and more satisfied employees will stay at their jobs longer, reducing high turnover and costs associated with hiring (Vinocur, n.d.). 

Taking vacation time also strengthens employee relationships with their families and those they care about outside of work (Hutchison, n.d.c; Kasser & Sheldon, 2009). Taking vacation time also improves employees’ health, preventing heart disease and other illnesses, helping manage anxiety and depression, and improving their sleep by almost 20%. This can result in lower healthcare costs for employers and reduced stress for employees (Vinocur, n.d.).  Taking vacation time should be encouraged, as it leads to a happier heather work climate.  

For employees to get the most out of their vacation time, they should prepare their workspace for their absence. Taking care of any final emails, setting up their “out of office” email, and organizing their work area allows employees to step away from their work for their vacation and come back to as little catch-up work as possible. If an employee must work during their vacation, they should set up certain time periods to work, then not work outside of that time, including checking their email (Hutchison, n.d.c). Taking these steps helps employees focus as much of their time as possible on their vacation, to step away from work and de-stress, and be excited to jump back into work upon their return. For more information on MSU’s vacation policies, visit MSU’s Human Resources Solution Center for walk-in services in Suite 110 of Nisbet Building or email them at

At a Glance

Benefits of taking vacation time:

  • Improves productivity 
  • Improves employees’ focus and energy in the workplace  
  • Increases retention of employees and employees’ loyalty to the organization 
  • Increases job satisfaction 
    • Almost 70% of employees feel more satisfied with their jobs if they take regular vacations 
  • Strengthens relationships with those outside of work 
  • Improves sleep by almost 20% 
  • Helps manage anxiety and depression 
  • Helps prevent heart disease and other illnesses 
  • Gives the body a break from constant stress 
  • Lowers healthcare costs 

How to set yourself up to get the most out of your vacation time:

  • Take care of any final emails 
  • Set up your “out of office” email 
  • Organize your work area so you come back to a clean space 
  • If you have to work during your vacation, try to set a certain time period that you work, and do not work outside of that time period, including checking your email

Resources on Campus

  • Discuss vacation time with your supervisor to find a mutually agreeable time to take a vacation
  • Human Resources Solution Center 
    • For more information on MSU’s vacation policies, the HR Solution Center offers walk-in services in Suite 110 of Nisbet Building and answers questions via email at 
  • Academic Human Resources
    • Provides more information on MSU’s vacation policies by contacting them through email at or calling them at 517-353-5300


Hutchison, J. (n.d.c). Why vacations matter. Michigan State University WorkLife Office.

Kasser, T., & Sheldon, K. M. (2009). Time affluence as a path toward personal happiness and ethical business practice: Empirical evidence from four studies. Journal of Business Ethics, 84, 243–255.

Vinocur, L. (n.d.). 10 reasons why vacations matter. Take Back Your Time.

Mohn, T. (2014, February 28). Take a vacation: It’s good for productivity and the economy, according to a new study. Forbes.

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