A decade ago, the term “unlimited paid time off” did not quite exist. In fact, the terms ‘unlimited’ and ‘paid time off’ were never used in the same phrase. But, like everything else in the world, with times, things started changing. Employers started including a paid time off policy that gave employees bottomless paid time off.
The underlying motive behind granting employees with PTO is that it enhances employee wellness, enhances productivity and also gives them time to reinvent themselves. All of which are benefits for an employer.
Does your employer give you unlimited time off? Great! Do you fall among the xx lucky people who are bestowed with that benefit? Now, how do you plan to use it?
A benefit like unlimited paid time off requires to be well-utilized. It is not to be wasted holed up binge-watching. There are more things to life. Here are some ways you can actually make use of your unlimited paid time off.
Pick Up a New Skill
Ever felt you need some more edge to get things better? Your paid time off could be a good opportunity to go on a sabbatical. You can pick up courses, regular or distance education ones that could extend your competency at work.
Let’s say you are a marketer who has been in the game for some time. A course in copywriting or content marketing would make you a trailblazer in your team. Or if you are a finance professional, picking up business analytics would raise your bar of performance.
The key is to find skills that your job demands. Spot the ones that you do not have. Use the paid time off to pick up the skill and become better at what you do.
Ramp Your Professional Qualifications
We live in a generation where graduate degrees and educational qualifications are often overlooked by employers. Skills and street-smartness are given more weight than graduation certificates.
But, that does not apply to all jobs and positions. A qualified CPA is far more worth than an account executive. A licensed lawyer is far more worth than a paralegal. In both cases, the nature of work done could almost be similar. However, the educational qualification or license turns the game around. It makes the individual someone of authority. Along with the employee grade, earnings and position in the organizational hierarchy also elevate.
How does one become a person of authority? By ramping up their professional qualification. What better time to do it than with a PTO?
In fact, chances are that your employer would be happy to see you turn from being an executive to a licensed professional. It gives them the confidence to entrust you with complex projects that an unqualified person cannot complete.
Expand Your Professional Network
Have you heard of the term ‘proximity’? The word ‘proximity’ means nearness in space, time, or relationship. Tony Robbins, the American author, and life coach says, “proximity is power”. The closer you are to people who are successful in what they do and what you want to do, you are in good proximity.
It is for the same reason why professionals take networking seriously. They want to interact with fellow professionals to find ways to better themselves, to find better opportunities or to strike mutually beneficial deals.
With the regular work grind, you will have little time available to expand your professional network. In fact, traveling to conferences for networking is out of the question. Your paid time off can help you find opportunities for networking and use them without putting a dent in your monthly earnings. Who knows, such a professional network will either lift your career in the current organization or find a higher calling in some other organization.
Try a Hand at Volunteering
Employers in the UK, Europe and several other parts of the world are offering their employees VTO. VTO is the short-form for “volunteer time off”. It is the same as PTO, the difference being that employers allow employees to go on volunteering expeditions. PTO gives employees an opportunity to give back to society. For employers, it counts as an indirect act of CSR.
But, why take on the challenging task of volunteering? Volunteering can give an instant boost to your psychological well-being. It improves your self-esteem, opens you to meeting and working with people from diverse backgrounds. In a way, it also tests your mental strength to work in non-work scenarios. In other words, it prepares you for uncertain and challenging events that may not come around in your work life. As a result, you become more competent to take risks and proactive decisions.
If you work for one of those generous employers who offer a paid time off policy, make sure you put it to good use. It is an ideal opportunity to grow yourself as a person and as a professional. Paid time off ensures that your regular stream of income is not cut off even while you are away spending time to improve yourself. The above-mentioned ways should help you put your PTO to good use.