It’s already July--before you know it, the leaves will start changing and falling, the temperatures will start to cool, and we’ll be seeing Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations in department stores. Hopefully, you already have your summer vacation planned out.
What’s that? You aren’t planning to go anywhere this summer?
You probably have good reasons for not taking a vacation. Money, duty to your work, maybe you just feel that no one can do your job when you are gone or that you’ll come back to a mountain of work. Depending on your role in your organization, you might think you’re setting a good example by forgoing a summer vacation.
But let’s be real now. Taking a vacation is more helpful than it is harmful in most industries. Here’s why:
Vacation actually increases productivity.
It might sound counterintuitive, but it’s true. Just like how taking short breaks throughout the workday keeps people physically and mentally active, taking longer breaks sustains and builds employee’s abilities to be responsive and agile.
Part of it is taking time to think about things other than work. Hobbies and other interests can take a back burner to a busy role. Re-engaging with activities that utilize different parts of our brains instigate creativity and create cross-connections. It’s also good for your health and associated with a lower risk of heart disease, reduced stress, improved productivity, and better sleep.
Think of it as part of your pay you aren’t claiming.
As the economy perks up, so do pay increases, bonuses, and salaries…all of those traditional sources of “pay.” But what many people forget is that vacation time is also part of your remuneration. It’s not just a nice perk. You wouldn’t say no to a raise or a bonus, would you? Then don’t say no to using vacation.
Increase trust between you and your coworkers.
One reason people may not like to take vacation is that they don’t feel that they can. If they leave, the work will pile up and it’ll just cause more work when they return, negating their vacation relaxation with catch-up stress.
That shouldn’t be the case (and if it is, a talk with the boss is in order). Allow your coworkers to help out while you’re out, and do the same for them when they take vacation. Build camaraderie and a more understanding workplace by sharing the perks and pits, and allowing your team to manage without you (and vice versa).
It’s good for your overall wellbeing.
It might be tempting to use your job and role as an indicator of your self-worth. But in the end—at the risk of sounding like a cheesy mudroom sign—it’s not about how much money you’ve made or how much work you did. People who spend more time doing things they love and enjoy are—surprise!—happier people in general. Regardless of what their title is or how much they make.
Over half of American’s don’t use all of their vacation time. Let’s work on lowering that number. Whether it’s a tour through Europe, visiting long-distance friends or relatives, or a week spent at home catching up on Netflix, use your vacation time. It’s that simple.