The Effects of Mandatory Vacation In the Tech Industry

June 4, 2016

2:00 pm

Mandatory vacation may seem like every employee’s dream, but it could dive deeper than that. For coders and those that work in the tech industry, mandatory vacation time could be a way to increase work productivity and aid in overall work satisfaction for employees. And with summer right around the corner, more and more employees are looking at vacation and the ways that it affects how they work.

The Vacation Habits of American Workers

Americans’ current work habits leave vacation time to the wayside. According to an article published on Skift, 41 percent of Americans didn’t take a single vacation day last year. The ones that did – 17.4 percent – only took less than five days off during the year, including the vacation peaks with mid-winter and summer seasonal vacation times.

The lack of vacation time affects how employees are able to complete their jobs and navigate a successful work-life balance. Also, women and other marginalized workers are affected the most by this lack of vacation time, as these groups are often the most stressed and negatively impacted by the stress of their jobs.

Vacation time may seem like a luxury, but could instate it as mandatory help to break down the negativities that come along with being a contemporary worker in today’s job market?

The Benefits of Mandatory Vacation Time

Mandatory vacation time isn’t about pushing for frivolous slacking off and a disregard for the importance of a strong work ethic. Instead, it’s about refocusing employees’ need to have time to decompress and relax outside of their work environments.

Mandatory vacation time is already prevalent in banking, with Section 4.2, Internal Routine and Controls of the FDIC Risk Management Manual mandates that “All banks should have a vacation policy, which provides that officers and employees be absent from their duties for an uninterrupted period of not less than two consecutive weeks.” The tech industry has little left to lose by adapting some of these principals to their own companies.

Quinn Slack elaborates on the benefits that come along with the tech industry adopting mandatory vacation time policies, writing that two main benefits come with adopting these policies on a large scale – better framework maintenance and happier employees. He writes:

“Tech companies are notorious for having cultures that frown upon taking vacations, as well as employees that actually aren’t interested in taking vacations. This sentiment often causes ruinous internal politics at startups.

Having a mandatory vacation policy helps solve these issues. It clearly communicates that vacation is OK and actually benefits the team and company. Nobody resents a teammate who is forced to take a vacation, and you’re not going to feel guilty taking time off if everybody else must do the same. On top of all this, guilt-free vacations are far more enjoyable, so you’ll get more rejuvenation from each day you’re away.”

Creating a culture where employees are their most productive and happiest includes implementing a variety of solutions. But that also means adopting long-term policies that ensure a step in this direction – like mandatory vacation time – will help create that very culture that we want.


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Cameron is a tech and culture journalist, comic book enthusiast, and lives near New York City. A graduate of Stockton University, she's using her words to shift the world of online journalism, one byline at a time. When she's not writing, she can be found reading sci-fi novels, collecting succulents, and planning her next obnoxious hair color. Cameron is an editorial fellow at Tech.Co. Send your tips to or tweet @BlkGirlManifest.

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