By guest blogger Nicolle Germain, MBA
Well, summer is finally here and this brings us to a relevant topic – vacations. Vacations are defined as a period of time that is devoted to pleasure, rest or relaxation. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be somewhere exotic, but more or less, vacations are a break from your regular routine, even if you are spending time in your hometown.
Have you given much thought to when your next break from work will be? You often read about the benefits of vacations in relation to stress levels, but it is still common for some people to rarely or never take breaks from work. Or sometimes worse – bring work with them on vacation. Is it because of excessive workload, guilt or even the company culture? It’s important to build organizations where time off from work is encouraged and seen as a benefit for employee wellness.
Vacations stimulate creativity, help prevent burn-out, keep us healthy, and allow people to find balance through family, friends, personal interests and hobbies. Many employers have found reduced numbers of employees on stress leave, as well as higher productivity within an organization. On top of that, honouring and encouraging vacation time is a great tool for the attraction and retention of new employees.
Having your employees go on vacation can also have a positive impact on other team members within your organization. Vacations encourage cross-training which minimizes business risk through knowledge sharing, and encourages employee engagement, team work and professional development within the company.
When you come back from a vacation how do you typically feel? Most likely refreshed and re-energized. You have a new level of focus and usually a bit more clarity in what needs to get done at work. Of course there’s usually a little bit of catch-up with workload and getting back into the ‘work groove’, but overall it’s a pleasant experience that many people enjoy partaking in.
It’s important to give yourself a mental break from the grind of work on weeknights, weekends and throughout the year sporadically. Even at lunch – get outside and go for a quick walk. Small breaks and fresh air offer more benefits than you may be aware of. Take time to visit a patio, go camping with your family, head out on a bike ride or just do something that you enjoy that is rejuvenating.
As summer marches on (and the rest of the year for that matter), be sure to effectively utilize the time you spend in the office, but remember just as importantly to schedule and take time off – even if you’re able to just squeeze in a few weekend breaks. When you go on vacation (where ever it may be – near or far) I challenge you to leave work at work. I’m headed to the mountains this weekend, how about you?