“I’m too busy to take a vacation!”
Have you caught yourself saying that? If so – stop. Just stop, right now. Because we’re here to tell you that fun is mandatory. Vacations aren’t just a nice thing to do. They’re important for your productivity, creativity, peace of mind, and a happy workplace.
Take Vacation – Please
Time off helps workers recharge their batteries and refresh their creativity. Studies have shown that staying busy all the time, or engaging the left brain (the logical, reasoning brain) for long periods of time depletes the creative energy needed for fresh thinking and ideas. In other words, time spent daydreaming on a beach or strolling the lanes of a foreign city is great for refreshing your left or creative brain.
To Check In or Not to Check In?
In order to fully reap the benefits of taking time off, it’s best not to check in at all, or to check in sparingly. Some executives may feel they should check in at regular intervals, setting times when they are available during vacation for quick calls or messages. Others check text messages but not email or voice mail. It’s important to set your own boundaries when it comes to taking time off.
The Benefits of Time Off
Vacation time may be a company benefit, but it offers the company benefits, too. For example, research has shown that workers who fail to take time off impact not just their own productivity but others at work, too. That’s because people who don’t take scheduled time off often find themselves taking unplanned time off like sick days because they burn themselves out. Then, in turn, their work must be completed by others, which adds to their stress. This can lower the overall morale and productivity of the entire team.
Another unexpected benefit of vacation time is that it may lower workplace fraud. The FDIC and the SEC both have policies in place to encourage vacation time. The FDIC, in fact, states that mandatory vacation rules discourage embezzlement. That’s because embezzlement and fraud require a sustained effort over time. Vacation disrupts that time and may make fraud more easily detected if the perpetrator isn’t there to cover his or her tracks.
Lastly, organizations who enforce mandatory vacation policies benefit their bottom line, too. Policies that allow workers to accrue vacation time can set the stage for an expensive payout when someone with a lot of vacation time accrued finally leaves the company. A “use it or lose it” policy prevents vacation from accruing annually. It both encourages people to take time off and prevents a big payout when someone leaves.
Leaders Set the Tone
If you’re in a leadership position within your organization, it’s important that you set a positive tone around taking time off. Never make anyone feel guilty for attending to family or personal needs. Be generous with time off policies, and respect people’s boundaries when it comes to taking time off. That means don’t call them when they’re on their wedding anniversary cruise and avoid sending emails during their vacation unless it’s necessary.
People sometimes think that vacation time is frivolous, perhaps a holdover from the old-fashioned Puritan work ethic that drives some people to work until exhaustion. But if you’re too tired to work, you’ll be of no use to anyone – not to your clients, your coworkers, or more importantly, to your family or to yourself. Take time off this summer for your sake and that of your company.
Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.