Work-life balance has gotten progressively more difficult over the past decade. New technologies emerge that streamline our workflows and make our jobs easier, but those same technologies also make it harder to unplug. Often, perceived work pressures prevent Americans from taking advantage of paid vacation time. In 2013, Expedia.com found thatAmericans collectively failed to take an estimated 577,212,000 available days of vacation. When seeking answers to the question “How to be successful in business?”, do not overlook the value of taking vacations!
Working overtime isn’t necessarily synonymous with dedication; working longer doesn’t always equal working harder. In fact, multiple studies have shown that taking vacations actually makes you more productive. So please, do yourself a favor…
Vacation for Yourself
It can be tough to let go of the many roles you embrace as a business owner. Taking a real vacation from work means not checking your work email, not checking in with one of the managers, and just enjoying yourself. Easier said than done.
For CEO of Don’t Panic Management Jess Ostroff, taking vacation was at times even more psychologically straining than work. But it was worth pushing past the guilt and anxiety to enjoy her toes in the sand. And after some much-needed relaxation and self-reflection, she gained a sense of gratitude for the many wonderful things in her day-to-day life.
As Expedia Vice President John Morrey says, “No one retires wishing they’d spent more time at their desk.” But, perhaps taking the time to step away, makes one more grateful for their desk in the long run.
Realistically, it might not be possible for you to unplug completely on every vacation you take. Expedia’s 2013 Vacation Deprivation study found that 67 percent of Americans stay connected with work while on vacation. If you must work, set office hours (just one or two per day) when you will be available to tackle any issues. Then, the rest of the time, you’ll reap the full benefits of vacationing!
But your vacation is even more valuable than creating happy memories and gaining fresh perspectives; it actually makes you more productive, at least according to several recent studies. Even 24-hour breaks help prevent burnout, and week-long vacations lower risk of heart disease – meaning vacations are important for your health and longevity.
Moreover, vacations aren’t just for your benefit.
Vacation For Your Business
In 2014, Expedia’s Vacation Deprivation study found that only 55 percent of the world’s bosses approve of workers taking vacation time. Don’t be this boss!
All work and no play makes your employees (and you) less productive. Henry Ford famously learned this the hard way in the early 20th Century after trying to extend the work week to a six-day, 48-hour week with one weekend day. He was optimistic that his factories could produce more in a shorter period of time, but he found that his employees were actually less productive in 48 hours per week than they had been in 40.
Your brain needs real time off. This breathing room doesn’t just give you time to enjoy yourself; it also gives you the opportunity to gain perspective on your business and opens you to the possibility of inspiration. Think about all the great ideas that have struck you while you were in the shower and how many more would come to you if you gave your brain a break for longer than 15 minutes!
According to an Inuit study, vacationers reported an 82 percent increase in post-trip productivity. Successful business owners take vacations because they know that the benefits of a week off can’t be duplicated artificially. The only way to get this burst of productivity, creativity, and morale is to put down your smartphone and stick your toes in the sand.