Ahhhh vacation, a chance to get away, recharge and relax. Unfortunately, in the United States – unlike in most of the rest of the world – a vacation is seen as a “nice to have” luxury, not a “need to have” necessity. In fact, 55% of us leave vacation days unused. According to the U.S. Travel Association, we forfeited over 658 million vacation days in 2016!
Here are five good reasons to take a vacation that will not only benefit you, but your work team as well. Not the boss? Send this email to him or her to gently suggest that a little time out of the office could benefit everyone!
Challenge Your Team: Time away provides peace of mind that your team can keep going without you. They get a chance to demonstrate what they can do, how they can assess, work and solve problems on their own. They might even miss you a little or appreciate what you do even more! The experience proves your trust in your team is well placed.
Build Ownership: If you are in a leadership position, new projects that are taken on in your absence provide an opportunity for your team to create a sense of ownership. You can add perspective but give them control. Show the team they are trusted, honored and appreciated. This empowers them and encourages them take their skills to the next level.
Return with a Plan: It’s hard to come back after a vacation. You often end up dealing with backlogs of email, phone messages and project updates. This is an opportunity improve your own time-management skills and efficiency. How can you ensure your refreshed attitude isn’t wiped out in the first hour? Make a list of projects before you leave, scrub your to-do list, delegate as much as possible, set up out-of-office voice and email messages, give yourself a buffer day before you return to work, and when you do come back, run under the radar for the first day to catch up, if possible. Clean up your desk and re-establish your routine.
Clearing Your Head: Setting a project aside for a few days can open your mind to new ideas and solutions. Coming back refreshed often results in new ideas and perspectives. Time off gives you an opportunity to mentally work on a project on a different level. Barriers you were facing may still be there, but your mindset may come up with a new angle of approach.
THANK YOU! One of the biggest benefits of taking time off is the opportunity to show appreciation for your team. Give them a thank you for their hard work, for moving projects along and for stepping up and managing that new project. Bring in doughnuts, buy lunch, give a written thank you note to express how much you appreciate their efforts. And encourage them to take their vacation days, too; everyone should benefit from a little time away from the grind.