Here’s some good news for our fellow travelers out there: taking vacations is good for your career. While that may sound counterintuitive to the American ideal of constant hard work to achieve success, the truth is that vacationing is a cornerstone of the American Dream. We need vacations not only for breaks from work, but also to ensure a quality home and/or family life and close bonds with our friends and family.
Only 25% of Americans use all of their allotted vacation time. Much of this is due to fears of falling behind, or being seen as lazy or unproductive, but study after study shows that workplace efficiency is improved with time off. Legendary American businessman Henry Ford reduced his factories’ workweek from 48 hours to 40 and six days to five in the mid-1920s. Said Ford, “We know from our experience in changing from six to five days and back again that we can get at least as great production in five days as we can in six. Just as the eight hour day opened our way to prosperity, so the five day week will open our way to a still greater prosperity."
So how does this work? You would think that logging 60 hours per week would inherently make one get more work done. If we were robots, this would be the case. Since we’re human, we have things like attention spans and suffer from hangover effects days after putting in long hours at our jobs. This is why we’re allowed breaks: people’s productivity increases when they work in short stints rather than marathon sessions. If you’ve had to study for a difficult test you’ll know what we’re talking about. A loss of quality occurs when we’re forced to do something over and over for a long period of time.
Stress disorders are also a major epidemic in the U.S. Stress contributes to a number of illnesses, including insomnia, anxiety and a weakened immune system, which can lead to really serious maladies like heart disease. There’s no better way to relieve work-related stress than a vacation. If we let go of emails and phone calls and trust that the office won’t fall apart without us, it will rejuvenate us to the point that we’re much more productive when we return.
That’s the key: we need to vacation the right way. If we’re still obsessing about work while “relaxing” on the lakefront, no real recovery is taking place. It’s vital that you plan ahead and make sure everyone understands that you’re ON VACATION and won’t be taking any calls. You can always reciprocate when someone else needs their time off. Shut off the alarm clock and let your body wake up when it wants to. Expand your horizons and do things completely unrelated to your job. Only then are you truly recuperating from all the hard work you put in.
Like many things in life, the idea of taking a vacation to boost productivity seems illogical. Unfortunately, no matter who we are we have a limited number of cognitive resources. Think of your breaks and vacation time as the fuel you need to keep your career engine running. Without that fuel, not only will you slog through life, your career will most likely stall. If we allow ourselves a hiatus, however brief, we’ll be much more dynamic and creative when we get back to the office. Give yourself some breathing room. You (and your employer) will be much happier. And, don’t forget Midwest Outdoor Resorts is here to help make your vacation planning process a breeze, call 800 231 0425 to talk to member services today about taking that much needed time off!