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Why you should still take vacation time during the pandemic

Americans are notorious for leaving paid time off on the table, with only 28% maxing out their available days during normal times. The pandemic only made it worse. About half of us canceled 2020 summer vacation plans. It’s no surprise. Fewer people are willing to get on planes and travel restrictions have limited our options. But does that mean you need to skip PTO completely?

“Time off doesn’t have to mean taking your annual vacation,” says Andrew Shatté, cofounder and chief knowledge officer of meQuilibrium, a science-based resilience training provider. “You may be thinking, ‘I’m not going to fly and don’t want to vacation somewhere close, so why bother?’ But grabbing a few days can make a big difference.”

Many employees decided to cancel their PTO and work instead, says Rhiannon Staples, chief marketing officer of the people management platform Hibob. “However, vacation days are earned and part of your benefits package,” she says. “They’re something that you should be taking advantage of—and not feeling guilty about.”

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