With summer in full swing, it’s almost impossible to find a day on our work calendar that doesn’t have someone out of office—from taking a long weekend to clearing out for a full two weeks, we’re at that time of year when you receive more “out-of-office” replies than typical. The sun’s out, school’s out, and many people are spending time away from their office.
While this might slow down something you’re looking to accomplish at your desk, it’s important to consider the necessity of taking time off yourself, or—if you’re an employer—building a culture that encourages employees to take time for themselves.
Don’t Worry, Be Happy
The most essential piece of your business is the workforce that powers it. We’ve written in the past about how crucial it is to keep your employees happy, as happiness (or the lack of it) has been found to be a leading cause of turnover. Nothing propels employees’ happiness more than their mental health.
It’s impossible to stay focused if your mental reservoir is empty, and working without a break will impact your physical health as well. UnityPoint Health highlights that increased risks of heart conditions, hypertension, and worsened depression are potential side effects of work-related stress, and that even a single day off can do wonders for your physical health, and mental state of mind.
Giving a personality assessment to your employees is a worthwhile endeavor to keep tabs on the different types of employees you have, and the kind of time off they’re taking. Introverts, for example, might not speak up for themselves and need some encouragement to take time off, especially since they often best recharge themselves with some quality alone time. For your nature junkies, ensuring they’re not hooked to their cell phone during a trip to the mountains helps them get their mental batteries back up to full charge.
And for those that might seem unable to financially afford a major vacation, even a “staycation” in their own homes can deliver the desired result.
As a business, it might seem counterintuitive to encourage employees to skip town for a while. In actual fact, an increase in productivity is one of the key benefits you should (hopefully) see once a team member is back on the job.
Minda Zetlin presents the idea that if you work yourself (and your brain) too hard, your mind will start to resist things. She states, “Ideas that once flowed easily [dry] up, and tasks that you should be able to perform quickly become excruciatingly difficult.” Taking time off allows these barriers to naturally break down, letting you come back to work with a higher drive to take on whatever your workload has to offer more efficiently and effectively.
Motivation also has been seen to get an ample boost post-vacation. Clinical psychologist Francine Lederer comments that even after letting work escape them for only 24 hours, “…people have [a] better life perspective and are more motivated to achieve their goals.” Increased boredom and tedium from always being “on” with your job are inevitable, making it mandatory that we take breaks from our jobs, if only to come back and care a little bit more about what we do on a daily basis.As a business that encourages use of vacation time, you’ll not only drive boosted productivity company-wide, but also build a culture that people respect, incentivizing quality prospects to gain interest in your organization.
Dollar, Dollar Bills Y’all
Taking a vacation is actually good for the economy! Whether staying local and ordering takeout, or taking an extended trip to Disneyland, people tend to spend their hard-earned cash during their time off. Those dollars are fed directly into the pockets of other businesses, enabling them to provide better benefits to their employees, or even increase spending that might cyclically come back to the business your organization does.
Dr. Heather Myers mentioned in a past post for Traitify that Americans typically leave more than three days of paid time off unused per year. Taking that a step further, this translates to an estimated $160 billion dollars of “lost” sales for businesses, which supports upwards of 1.2 million jobs. It might seem odd, but skipping out on a vacation is actually bad for business.
Whether you’re planning the trip of your dreams, or staying home on Friday to binge watch Netflix, taking time off can have serious benefits. From recovering mentally and physically to boost productivity, to helping spur some extra income back into local businesses, it’s truly important to utilize whatever vacation you can.