It’s here! Summer has actually arrived. Now the relentless onslaught of smug holiday chat from colleagues begins. You know what I mean, the daily countdowns to take-off, the cheeky post-its left by absent office-mates and the self-satisfied out of office emails. If you’ve got your own holiday booked, it’s bearable. You know you can bide your time until it’s your turn to rub it in, but if not, it truly sucks.

If you’re one of the UK employees who only book around 77% of their holiday entitlement, this ends now.  The summer is a great time to consider booking some time off work. Whether you intend to jet off to sunnier climes once autumn arrives or you’d rather spend a week on the sofa, catching up on your Netflix watch list, make sure you do it. Don’t be the person with holidays to spare at the end of the year. Here’s why.

Take a holiday

You’ve earned it

I mean that literally. It’s a basic part of your pay and benefits. If you’re entitled to paid time off, it’s part of your overall salary. If you don’t take it, you’re working for free for almost one month every year. Very few companies let you roll holidays over into the next year so you will lose them. By all means, keep a few days worth back in case of emergencies, but don’t cling on to weeks of them. It’s you that loses out in the end.

You deserve it

The Working Time Directive protects an employee’s right to work a maximum of 48 hours a week, but some jobs are excepted from this, while many more choose to opt out. In fact, Brits work the longest hours in Europe, with 50, or 60, hour weeks being considered normal. If this sounds familiar, you could be working in excess of 2500 hours every year! Doesn’t that deserve a holiday?

You’re not indispensable

Really, you’re not. I know you work hard to prove that the company would fall apart at the seams in your absence, but I promise you, it won’t. Yes, your inbox might be stuffed to virtual bursting when you get back and your To Do list might be longer than usual for a few days, but the wheels will keep turning while you’re gone. It’s a mark of efficiency that you’re able to delegate your tasks and keep everything ticking over  during your holiday.

You need it

For the good of your health, both physical and mental, you need a break. Time to rest, process and reconnect with friends and loved ones is essential. Well-rested people are able to be more productive, more creative and generally more satisfied at work than frazzled ones. Hell, even a long weekend with a complete ban on all work talk and email is likely to leave you feeling energised.

YOLO

Do you really want to look back at your twenties and thirties as a time you spent working every hour possible? Go out, experience new cultures, new foods, new people and become a more interesting person as a result. Stay at home, read, watch back-to-back episodes of House of Cards, eat your favourite Chinese food and become a happier person. Check out local festivals, visit nearby museums, browse shops in your town and love your community a little more. Whatever you do, make sure you use your annual leave.

When will you be booking your next holiday from work?

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