Vacation – it’s a beautiful thing, isn’t it? Apparently not in the United States. ABC News reports that only 57% of Americans take all of their vacation time, compared to the French who use 89% of their vacation days. When I read these percentages, I wasn’t surprised. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been on vacation with friends who have assumed the hunched, round-shouldered position of typing into a Blackberry or laptop when they could be reclining on a beach chair soaking up the rays or hiking on a cool and refreshing mountaintop trail.
I, too, am guilty. The minute we see an email, text, tweet or other form of correspondence from work, we immediately go back into “work-mode.” Those messages from the office start a chain reaction of worry and dread. With so many Americans concerned about the security of their jobs, it’s easy to understand why the old cliché “out of sight, out of mind” is so popular. If we are at least emailing and texting, we’re present and accounted for, right? Seems that Americans will do whatever they have to in order to protect their jobs even if it means compromising their health and relationships. The popular trend right now is to take long weekends, but does this approach really allow us to relax and let go? Somehow I doubt it, but I guess it’s better than nothing.
But let’s look at the benefits of really taking time off from work and fully enjoying our vacation days:
- Reconnecting with family and those we love
- Reduced stress
- Improved creativity
- Improved job performance
- Burnout prevention
- Reestablishing priorities
- Creating vacation memories for our children
- Treating our customers better
As CEOs, managers, and supervisors, it is our responsibility to set the example for our employees. We need to let them know that it is not only okay for them to take time off from work, it is highly encouraged. If you haven’t had a vacation in a while, maybe it’s time you scheduled one. While you’re at it, schedule the next one, too. You’ll be ahead of the game and maybe even get a better rate for the flight.
Now if you’ll please excuse me, I need to hop online to see if there are any good vacation deals going on out there right now…I hear the beach calling!