Vacation plans: 4 reasons not to take time off during the holidays

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There are certain periods during the year when workers tend to take advantage of their paid vacation time — namely, the holidays.

Late November and December are among the most popular times for Americans to travel, and with that often comes the need to be away from the office for a number of days, or even weeks.

Of course, it’s nice to get away during the holidays and spend time with loved ones who aren’t local. On the other hand, taking time off during the holidays isn’t always the smartest idea from a work perspective. Here’s why.

1. You want to meet your year-end deadlines

Some workers don’t experience that year-end crunch. But if you’re in a position where you need to wrap up certain projects or fulfill certain reporting requirements by year’s end, then taking off for the holidays might cause you to fall short on your work obligations. Of course, you can mitigate this risk by putting in extra time in the weeks leading up to the holidays, and planning for that time off in advance. But if you’re in a situation where you’re reliant on outside data or input, and you can only get so much done beforehand, then it might pay to stick around during the holidays and ensure that you’re able to meet your deadlines.

Does working during the holidays stink? In some ways, yes. But if your job doesn’t lend itself to taking off too close to the end of the year, then you’re better off exploring other solutions. Have your family members fly in to visit you as opposed to vice versa, or have a belated reunion the first week of January. Or consider cutting your holiday travel short so that you’re back in time to wrap up key tasks.

2. You’ll have fewer interruptions in the office

The fact that the holidays are a popular time to be out of the office can work to your benefit if you decide to stay put. That’s because during the week of Thanksgiving, or the week between Christmas and New Year’s, you’re less likely to get distracted by chatty coworkers, or colleagues who want your help. Similarly, you’re unlikely to have many meetings those weeks, since most folks will be away. What this means is that you’ll get a great opportunity to catch up on your workload, or even get ahead.

3. You’ll build up some goodwill

Most workers want to take time off during the holidays, which means that you and your colleagues will probably end up clamoring for the same limited vacation days. The problem, of course, is that inevitably, some of you will need to work to keep things running, and if you volunteer to be one of those people, your coworkers and manager will no doubt appreciate it. Furthermore, if you offer to work during the winter holidays, the next time you want to take off during a popular time, you’ll probably be first in line for approval.

4. Holiday travel is expensive

Not everyone who takes time off during the holidays leaves town. But if you normally would travel and decide to put in your time at the office instead, you’ll be helping your finances immensely. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s are among the most expensive days to travel during the year, so if you bank the money you would’ve spent on flights, you’ll have more flexibility for taking vacation at another point during the year.

Before you request time off for the holidays this year, think about how it might affect your performance, and consider the benefits of working at a time when most folks are out of your hair. You may come to find that working during the holidays is a move that ends up really paying off in the long run.