Importance of Vacation

Christine Johnson, Cued Forward on

Ah summer.  The time when many of us take a vacation.  But wait you say.  No time for vacation.  No money for vacation.  Afraid you’ll lose your job if you take vacation time.  This blog is for all of the save-my-vacation time and don’t-need-a-vacation employees and the employers who let this happen.

With so much research showing the importance for employees to have time away from the workplace, we as employees and employers need to learn what constitutes a vacation and the positive outcomes of the time away.

Taken on vacation near my house 2016

Are we wrapped up in the definition?

I believe people do not use their vacation time because they feel as if they have to go somewhere.  Even with the popularizing of the “staycation” beginning back 8 years or so ago, many people still don’t take time off.  I am here to tell employees that you have control over how you use your time.

If you are still in doubt, look at two definition components of vacation from the  (Key words are highlighted for persuasion purposes.)

  • A period of suspension of work, study, or other activity, usually used for rest, recreation, or travel; recess or holiday (Look at the options here!)
  • Freedom or release from duty, business, or activity.

If still in doubt that you can take vacation time, read these two points again.

Forgetting that “me” sometimes has to come ahead of everyone else

With personal and professional responsibilities galore, many of us forget that if we do not work on ourselves, our home and work lives suffer.  Taking time off on vacation allows us time to reflect and refocus.

Whether sitting by the shores or taking a walk in the neighborhood, this uninterrupted time (keyword: uninterrupted) provides opportunities to:

  • Clear our minds- Could a vacation day be the day you start working on mindfulness?
  • Look ahead- Have you thought about your short and long term priorities in your life lately? Plan or shape you future with reflective thinking.  Working on yourself is easier when work stressors for the most part are eliminated.
  • Reconnect with people and family- Disconnect form the electronic world.

The talent crisis and vacation-missing employees

With the challenges of finding top talent today, I would think that employers more than ever would embrace and promote their vacation policies as not only a regular benefit, but part of a larger wellness initiative.  Taking out a billboard to promote this would not be out of the question.  Yet, vacation time is still often seen as a page in the employee handbook; another rule to be followed.

In today’s talent crisis, employers need to retain their employees while employees want to work for an organization that supports their beliefs.  Developing a culture of care and understanding employees’ needs outside of the workplace is critical.  To help drive this point home, some organizations even give employees money beyond vacation time to get away.

Throughout my career, I have talked with employees and leaders about the need for employees to be away from work no matter if they are travelling the world or staying in their own yard.  Reach out to me if you are an employee who needs to learn how to take a vacation. I can help. Employers, let’s talk about how we can encourage employees’ to take their vacation time.  Or even more basic, adding a vacation benefit to your repertoire.  You will find me next to the beach umbrella with a book, waiting to help.

Photo Credit: Taken by me approaching Mackinac Island, 2016

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