Each summer, when July turns to August, my mind begins to look forward to fall and winter months. Summer is my favorite season, so August often brings a twinge of sadness. Planning a vacation to a warm destination in the cold winter months gives me something to anticipate.
THE IMPORTANCE OF VACATION
A 2016 Inc. article, reveals that the average US employee only takes half of their vacation time. At the same time, workers are complaining that they are overworked, stressed, and overwhelmed.
Those that go on vacation are very likely to be doing work while they are out of the office. It might be a daily (or more) check of email, a phone conversation, or a little work on a document.
In the back of your head, there may be a small voice that says, "If everything goes smoothly in the office while I am away for two weeks, maybe the firm does not really value my contribution. Will I be the next casualty in a round of layoffs?"
This is faulty thinking.
Here are some of the benefits from taking vacation:
Employees who take vacation are less stressed and have lower burnout rates, according to this article.
After taking a vacation, workers often find that some of their tasks seem easier than before because they have had some time to relax and let their minds rest. Vacation offers perspective by pulling you out of your daily routine.
Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgement will be surer. Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance and a lack of harmony and proportion is more readily seen. - Leonardo da Vinci
An Ernst & Young study found that employees who took more vacation performed better on annual reviews. Research conducted by Boston Consulting Group found that high-level executives who were required to take vacation were considerably more productive than those who spent more time at work.
Taking a vacation and getting out of your everyday routine removes you from the environment where you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed. This gives your body and mind a chance to relax and rejuvenate. Other research has shown that upon returning from a vacation, employees complain of fewer physical ailments.
Going on vacation is a wonderful opportunity to connect with family and friends in a meaningful way. In the normal daily rush, it is often difficult to have an in-depth conversation with a child, spouse, or close friend. We are all so busy, racing from one activity to another. Time off from work enables you to savor new experiences with people that are important in your life.
WHY PLAN NOW?
There are 3 key benefits to planning a vacation a few months ahead:
- Availability - you will have more choices of destination, flights, and accommodations.
- Affordability - as the time nears and supply dwindles, prices increase. Advance planning often means better pricing.
- Anticipation - according to this Harvard Business Review article, there is evidence that to maximize the benefits of a vacation, it should be planned at least one month in advance. This enables you to pre-savor the experience, increasing your positive emotions. It also increases the likelihood of less stress on your vacation because the planning has been done in advance.
Where will you be going this winter?
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