Why Vacation and Time Off Are Good for Your Productivity at Work
Did you know that an average of two full vacation days are forfeited per worker each year? According to “Travel and Leisure” magazine’s article in 2015 more than ½ of US Workers are leaving some vacation days on the table (658 million unused in 2015).
Now, I don’t know about you but two extra paid days off per year sound wonderful. And, if you have them, why would you not take them?
Do you see the value in taking vacation days?
Do you worry your productivity at work will fall if you take time off? There have been studies that show you may be MORE productive if you take time off. In an article for the Harvard Business Review entitled “Are we more productive when we have more time off?” The authors noted the results of a study they had undertaken between US (no mandatory vacation time, standard is 10 paid days off per year) and European executives (who tend to have more vacation time), “In fact, having more vacation time seems to help employees better understand the importance of being impatient for results and getting as much done as possible.” They also noted that “simply spending less time at your desk forces you to waste less time.” https://hbr.org/2015/06/are-we-more-productive-when-we-have-more-time-off
In my own work experience, I found this to be true as well. My job used to be structured where I worked from home several days a week and in the office, the rest of the time. I quickly realized I didn’t have time for idle chit-chat at the water cooler or meetings just because. I had to get a lot done in a short period of time and I needed to be as productive, if not more productive, than people putting in twice the time I did at the office.
In today’s world, to work from home and be hyper-connected always is all too easy. But, even then, I could answer emails, take calls, etc. away from the office and also be able to have time with my kids growing up. And I could do this because the time away from the office made my time in the office precious and hyper-focused.
Tools I use to increase my productivity everyday (and you can too!):
- Get rid of non-essential tasks
- Compartmentalize your time and work in blocks
- Prioritize your time to focus on the things that make the most impact
Vacation days are no different. The piles of work will still be there when you return, yet your productivity will soar. You will be renewed, refocused and better able to deal with them.
Reasons Vacation Time can Increase Productivity at Work:
- Vacation time, especially when going to a different location, takes you out of your current environment and allows you to see the big picture again. Work problems which seem insurmountable suddenly become manageable.
- Your physical state of being resumes back to your normal self when you can rest. It is like hitting a reset button for your health, and it is easier to be productive at work when you don’t feel like your dragging.
- You begin new routines that force you to reevaluate your old ones, this is true for your home and work life.
- You can do healthy things for yourself – perfect time to work out, get a massage, or just take in the beauty of wherever you are and relax. And, you will be able to focus on the job at hand when you return.
I hope you will use your vacation time wisely and use ALL of it. But, I really hope taking a vacation leaves you refreshed and more productive.
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