Bored Panda works better on our iPhone app
Continue in app Continue in browser
BoredPanda Add Post

The Bored Panda iOS app is live! Fight boredom with iPhones and iPads here.

Expert Says “For Years, I Took My Paid Time Off All Wrong” And Explains How To Do It Correctly
57points
3.7K
People, Social Issues3 months ago

Expert Says “For Years, I Took My Paid Time Off All Wrong” And Explains How To Do It Correctly Interview With Author

Taking a well-deserved break from work sounds great, right? When you have the opportunity to recharge, travel, and be with your loved ones, it allows for you to come back even more creative and productive. Unfortunately, Americans are notorious for being workaholics and seem to get used to longer hours and less time off.

Feeling guilty about leaving their projects or fearing they would lose their boss’ respect all factor into preventing employees from going on holiday. But when working too much leads to burnout and high levels of stress, taking some time off is a must. And Selena Rezvani, a leadership expert, speaker, and author, is here to remind us of that.

She recently caught the attention of more than 1.8 million people on TikTok after making a video full of tips about paid time off (PTO). Selena often uses her platform to discuss corporate culture and share advice about self-advocating in the workplace. Read on to find out some of her illuminating insights, and tell us what you think about them in the comments below!

Recently, leadership expert Selena Rezvani made a viral TikTok sharing her best tips for using paid time off at work

Image credits: selenarezvani

Selena Rezvani specializes in helping employees stand up for themselves at work and even wrote a best-selling book about it called Pushback: How Smart Women Ask — and Stand Up — for What They Want. She told Bored Panda that the hustle culture is real. “Research shows North Americans are the most stressed-out workers in the world. If you think about it, it’s hard to be results-obsessed and NOT get burned out.”

“I tell people that dedication and hard work are things to be proud of, but when we take time off regularly, we have better health, stamina, and engagement at work. Not just that, we actually perform better and work harder.” She suggested taking PTO to refuel instead of thinking of it as something to use when there’s a huge surplus.

The leadership expert revealed that some people ask her about “unpaid time off” too. She believes that for companies it would be a bad idea. “It can encourage presenteeism — where employees feel pressure to come in sick if the company doesn’t have a PTO policy in place,” Selena explained. “If you’re leading a company that lacks PTO — you’ll suffer in finding talent: PTO is the second most important ‘perk’ to employees after health insurance.”

Image credits: selenarezvani

You can watch the full video, which got over 1.8 million views, right over here

@selenarezvani My best tips for using your PTO at work.⏰ #paidtimeoff#pto#corporatetips#corporateadvice#careeradvice#careertok#corporatelife#corporateamerica ♬ BORN FOR THIS – Foxxi

However, Selena would like to advise you to be skeptical about “unlimited PTO” plans since they’re way too ambiguous. “There are often unspoken expectations about how to use it from management – for example, what constitutes the ‘right amount’ to take. That means it’s easy for employees to violate those expectations because nothing is explicitly stated!”

There’s usually no payout if you leave this job because there’s no actual value to this “generous benefit” you’ve been given. Also, “unlimited plans suffer from underuse. One study showed people with unlimited plans take fewer days in a year than people with traditional plans. Not just that, but Americans with unlimited PTO are twice as likely as folks with traditional plans to say they ‘always’ work on vacation.”

“Let’s be honest. Unlimited PTO is a marketing tool. If you want to offer people a transparent, useable plan, my advice is to give people a generous and clearly stated number of PTO days,” she added.

After receiving supportive replies from her followers, she created another clip talking about good habits to set with your manager

Image credits: selenarezvani

Here’s the full video

@selenarezvani Tips to help you communicate & set boundaries when taking time off. #pto#paidtimeoff#takingtimeoff#corporatelife#corporatetips#corporateadvice ♬ Lazy Sunday – Official Sound Studio

There’s still a stigma against taking time off, and some managers and bosses even believe they have the right to disrespect their workers for going on holiday. According to Selena, “PTO guilt” is real.

“Employers need to stop vacation-shaming and incentivizing people to have ‘perfect attendance’. It’s crazy to me that there are workplaces that give out perfect attendance awards and financial incentives to those who don’t use their PTO at the end of a period,” she noted, saying it’s not conducive to normal human rhythms to work like a robot.

After all, “people can and should be able to judge for themselves when they need time off (and of course to make an effort to help operations run smoothly while they’re gone).”

Selena also recommends companies simplify PTO request processes, lowering the barrier to entry for people. “As a grown adult who knows their body, don’t require a person to provide a justification or reason to be out! It’s time to normalize using PTO regularly because more than half of Americans don’t take all their PTO in a year – compared to France where 90% of people take all their PTO.”

Plus, leaders should normalize encouraging people to fully step away when taking time off. “That’s important because when Americans do take vacations, 41% are checking into work while away, and a whopping 84% of executives have canceled vacations in order to work.”

Selena also shared some great examples of how healthy boundaries at work should sound

Image credits: selenarezvani

Image credits: selenarezvani

Image credits: selenarezvani

Image credits: selenarezvani

Image credits: selenarezvani

Sometimes, people want to keep a cushion of time for the unexpected, and Selena, a mom to 9-year-old twins, can especially empathize with wanting to save time for sick kids and other stressful things. “And let’s be real — there are some people who simply don’t have the privilege to just ask for time off.”

“But one common perception in the US is that time off needs to be earned and sacrificed for,” she added. Well, the leadership expert likes to use the analogy of a “painkiller versus a vitamin” here.

“Rather than seeing [PTO] like a preventative, beneficial ‘vitamin’ we regularly take to keep us vital and healthy, we tend to see it a little more like a ‘painkiller’ for stress. That thing we need to offset everyday pressures and tensions.”

If you’re wondering about the best ways to use your paid time off, the expert suggested extending your break when the company is closed, taking your birthday off each year, or taking a day here or there for joy, self-investment, socializing or alone time.

“If you personally have little PTO to work with, say one week, you can use the piggyback technique of tacking on one additional day off to an already short week say, a federal holiday. That gives you a longer period off and a shorter workweek to look forward to,” she said.

Selena told us that previously she got a little too practiced at tying her productivity to her worth as a human being. “I thought, ‘Did I go hard this week and push myself to the point of insanity?! Good for me, I deserve a nice reward this weekend!’ And that was the little ping pong match that went on inside my head every week.”

She also lived with FOMO — the fear of missing out. “But no more. I want to live life to its fullest. I want to stop and see the roses, smell them, pick them, throw some petals up in the air and enjoy it along the way. I think I’ve finally embraced JOMO. The joy of missing out,” Selena concluded.

Many TikTokers appreciated the woman’s insights and had loads of great suggestions

Share on Facebook
You May Like
Popular on Bored Panda
Join the conversation
Denise Bella
Community Member
3 months ago

US Problems. Sorry for you Guys! Love from Germany wäre you have to Take your Time Out.

Hugo Raible
Community Member
3 months ago

Swiss rules: Vacation days do not expire and can only be compensated under certain circumstances. In the worst case your employers should tell you to stay at home to reduce vacation days. Overtime is a different story though.

Load More Replies...
WilvanderHeijden
Community Member
3 months ago

Quite happy that I live in the Netherlands where people don't have to bend, stretch and roll over to get what's your legal right. Funeral of a first degree relative? That's 3 days off. Marriage of a a first degree relative? That's one day off. Want to go on a 4 week vacation? Sure, no one is going to stop you. Want to schedule one unpaid Papa or Mama-day per week? Go ahead.

Martine
Community Member
3 months ago

I agree! Moreover, in Belgium we legally are paid extra for yearly vacation. I am retired now and still get paid extra for 'vacation'.

Load More Replies...
James016
Community Member
3 months ago

I'm in the UK and I believe we have to legally take it. Use it or lose it. I've never been asked why unless it is something like the next day which is usually a medical thing with my son. Thankfully I have a great manager who has 2 rules for me (which work both ways) 1) Our PTO's can't clash and 2) We can call each other but it has to be a major work incident. I can't complain.

Fiona Parky
Community Member
3 months ago

Uk here too and we get nagged if we haven’t booked all our holiday in time. If you don’t use it they have to pay you for it so they’re quite keen for you to take your time off. As for justification, why? It’s none of their business! I currently get 32 days a year in top of bank holidays and there’s parental leave, emergency leave, dependents leave, sick leave etc. We work to live, not the other way round.

Load More Replies...
Load More Comments
Denise Bella
Community Member
3 months ago

US Problems. Sorry for you Guys! Love from Germany wäre you have to Take your Time Out.

Hugo Raible
Community Member
3 months ago

Swiss rules: Vacation days do not expire and can only be compensated under certain circumstances. In the worst case your employers should tell you to stay at home to reduce vacation days. Overtime is a different story though.

Load More Replies...
WilvanderHeijden
Community Member
3 months ago

Quite happy that I live in the Netherlands where people don't have to bend, stretch and roll over to get what's your legal right. Funeral of a first degree relative? That's 3 days off. Marriage of a a first degree relative? That's one day off. Want to go on a 4 week vacation? Sure, no one is going to stop you. Want to schedule one unpaid Papa or Mama-day per week? Go ahead.

Martine
Community Member
3 months ago

I agree! Moreover, in Belgium we legally are paid extra for yearly vacation. I am retired now and still get paid extra for 'vacation'.

Load More Replies...
James016
Community Member
3 months ago

I'm in the UK and I believe we have to legally take it. Use it or lose it. I've never been asked why unless it is something like the next day which is usually a medical thing with my son. Thankfully I have a great manager who has 2 rules for me (which work both ways) 1) Our PTO's can't clash and 2) We can call each other but it has to be a major work incident. I can't complain.

Fiona Parky
Community Member
3 months ago

Uk here too and we get nagged if we haven’t booked all our holiday in time. If you don’t use it they have to pay you for it so they’re quite keen for you to take your time off. As for justification, why? It’s none of their business! I currently get 32 days a year in top of bank holidays and there’s parental leave, emergency leave, dependents leave, sick leave etc. We work to live, not the other way round.

Load More Replies...
Load More Comments
Popular on Bored Panda
Popular on Bored Panda
User Submissions
Also on Bored Panda
Also on Bored Panda