The Science-Backed Power of Vacation and Time Off Work
Does taking a vacation often seem like a luxury you can't afford? The demands of work, the fear of falling behind, and the pressure to always be available often create a daunting barrier to stepping away from your responsibilities. We get it! Work can be very demanding, but you truly deserve and need that vacation. Research-based science and studies have shown time and again that vacations are not just a break from work; they are vital for our productivity, well-being, and overall happiness. And guess what? Taking a vacation pays off! Even major CEOs and founders, who are often known for their relentless work ethic, recognize the importance of unplugging and taking time off. So pack your bags as we venture into why vacations are essential and how to leave work behind so you can truly disconnect and return rejuvenated, free from the dreaded flood of emails.
The Science Behind Vacations
People who took more than 10 of their vacation days had a 65.4% chance of receiving a raise or bonus, compared to only 34.6% for those who took less than 10 days. (Harvard Business Review).
While the benefits of vacations may seem intuitive, scientific research provides evidence that supports the positive impact of taking time off work. The American Psychological Association lists several articles showing that people who took regular vacations experienced reduced stress, improved mood, and increased productivity upon returning to work. Often reporting that they feel more satisfied with their lives overall, including their relationships and health.
Vacations also contribute to better mental health. Other studies have discovered that vacations are associated with lower rates of depression and a more positive outlook on life. Taking a break from the daily grind allows individuals to unwind, gain perspective, and return to work with a renewed sense of purpose and enthusiasm.
A classic example of a successful CEO who embraces the power of vacations is Richard Branson, the founder of the Virgin Group. Despite being a high-profile entrepreneur juggling numerous ventures, Branson understands that time away from work is crucial for maintaining peak performance. He often takes breaks to his private island, Necker Island, and has been an advocate for employees to take vacations too. Branson firmly believes that rest and relaxation are essential for creativity and innovation, qualities that have contributed to the success of his various business ventures. But Branson isn’t the only CEO or high-profile business person advocating for vacations and time off work. Our favorite example comes from Spanx founder, Sara Blakely, who in 2021 surprised each of her employees with two first-class plane tickets to anywhere in the world and an extra $10,000 in spending cash after Blackstone bought a majority stake in the company valued at $1.2 billion.
The Importance of Unplugging
In today’s over-connected world, truly disconnecting during vacations can be challenging. Smartphones, laptops, and constant internet access make it tempting to check work emails or messages even when we are supposed to be relaxing. However, to reap the full benefits of vacation, it is essential to unplug from work-related tasks.
Multiple studies published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology highlight the importance of disengagement from work during vacations. Concluding that employees who detach themselves from work completely during their time off experience lower levels of burnout and higher job satisfaction. Moreover, unplugging enables individuals to fully recharge and return to work with improved focus and creativity.
Three Tips to Disconnect and Return with Ease
Set Clear Boundaries: Before leaving for your vacation, communicate with your team and colleagues about your plans and set clear boundaries. Let them know when you will be unavailable and designate someone to handle any urgent matters in your absence. Inform clients or stakeholders about your time off in advance, so they can plan accordingly. By setting expectations and boundaries, you can reduce the likelihood of being interrupted with non-urgent work matters during your vacation.
Use the "Out of Office" Auto-Reply: Activate your "Out of Office" auto-reply email with a friendly message stating that you are on vacation and will not be checking emails until your return date. Include the contact information of the person handling urgent matters in your absence. Inform the sender that you appreciate their understanding and will respond to their email upon your return. This way, you manage their expectations and avoid any frustration due to delayed responses. Better yet, ask them to email you again upon your return, so you don't have to go back through all your messages.
Engage in Relaxing Activities: While on vacation, make a conscious effort to engage in activities that help you unwind and disconnect from work. Spend time with loved ones, immerse yourself in nature, read a book, practice mindfulness, or pursue a hobby you enjoy. By focusing on enjoyable and relaxing activities, you can redirect your thoughts away from work and fully embrace your time off.
The Takeaway: Give Yourself Permission to Take Flight
It's time to redefine the perception of vacations from a guilty indulgence to an essential investment in personal and professional growth. By taking flight and disconnecting from work, you are not just pampering yourself; you are investing in your career and your ability to lead effectively.
We urge you to book that flight, leave the laptop behind, and embark on a journey of self-discovery. Give yourself the opportunity to recharge and return as a better employee, a more effective leader, and, most importantly, a happier and healthier version of yourself.
Remember, you are the driving force behind your success, and the power of vacation lies in your hands. Embrace it, and let it propel you to heights you never thought possible.
Your team at beflo