In Defense of Another Vacation
by Marcia Simon, APR, CTA
Vacation helps you regain energy, think more clearly, shed stress, restore a positive attitude and put life into perspective. This all leads to motivation to get unstuck from a stagnant situation, become more productive and move forward toward achieving your personal goals.
As much as this sounds like common sense, there’s research to back it up. According to a June 2018 Harris poll conducted for the American Psychological Association (APA), two thirds of working Americans surveyed said their mood is more positive after returning from vacation. More than half said they return to work feeling less stressed and, as a result, they felt their work quality was better.
Despite the known benefits of turning off the work switch for a week or two:
- The APA says more than 25 percent of Americans surveyed said they work, and more than they thought they would, during vacation. Glassdoor says it’s more like 66 percent.
- Only 41 percent of American workers said their organization’s culture encourages employees to take time off.
- American workers forfeited nearly 50 percent of paid vacation time in 2017, according to a Glassdoor study. The fear of falling behind, they say, is the number one reason people aren’t using their vacation time, as reported by Forbes.
“While taking a vacation may make employees temporarily feel behind, they should realize that stepping away from work and fully disconnecting carries a ripple effect of benefits. It allows employees to return to work feeling more productive, creative, recharged and reenergized.
Workplaces that support time off see the benefits not just for the employees, but for the entire work environment. The ripple effect of increased creativity and energy bring overall good vibes that travel throughout the office.
Embracing the value of time off is still a work in progress for many Americans. About one third of U.S. employees said their work colleagues contact them while on vacation; 25 percent said their boss contacted them while on vacation. Perhaps we need to learn a lesson from France, where the “right to disconnect” law requires companies with more than 50 employees to establish hours when staff should not send or answer emails. The goals of the law include preventing burnout by protecting private time.
Disconnecting from work mentality allows you to reconnect with family or friends and – most importantly – with yourself.
Marcia Simon is principal of MSE Public Relations, specializing in healthcare, wellness, travel and technology. She also blogs about health, wellness and travel. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.