Step Away: Why It’s So Important to Take Time Off

By Lou Solomon

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One of my favorite times of the day is when I step into my home office with my first cup of coffee of the morning and write with a fresh mind.

There is a limited window of mojo time. If I stay after the window has closed, my writing becomes less and less inspired. For me, creativity demands that I step away. When I come back, the best work can begin again.

[quote author=”Lou Solomon” align=”left”]One of my favorite times of the day is when I step into my home office with my first cup of coffee of the morning and write with a fresh mind.[/quote]

As a course leader, I’ve noticed that a brief time away from teaching will boost my “expression-energy.” I seem to have access to a new supply of words to describe the world and relate to others.

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Imagine what vacation (or “stay-vacation”) time can do. The personal benefits have been well-documented.

Vacation’s Are About the Quality of Life:

    • Better sleep, stress reduction
    • Better heart health
    • Positive emotions, less depression
    • Togetherness that can build relationships
    • Higher energy levels

Yet for some reason this wisdom is lost on the majority of employees in this country. Millions of Americans are giving up half of their vacation days. The average worker has two weeks for vacation, and is giving back 5 days to their employer.

What could keep us from stepping away?

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Since the recession, the heavy workloads are back with a vengeance.

The latest research from Glassdoor and Harris Interactive reveals these trends among more than half of working Americans:

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But there is one thing that a whopping 80% of research participants agree upon: if they felt fully supported and encouraged by their boss, they would take more time off.

Why should employers make vacation a priority? There’s a very good reason. Vacations can build employee engagement. People who take vacation are happier and more productive.

If you could benefit from a little employee engagement and a happier workplace, here are 5 Ways to Build Vacation Awareness among teammates.

5 Ways to Build Vacation Awareness Among Teammates:

    • Talk it up. Actively encourage people to take their vacation. No excuses.
    • Lead by example, practice what you preach and take time off.
    • Creative a team culture that prizes the benefits of time off. Don’t reward “workplace martyrs.”
    • Encourage teams to come up their own way to adjust project schedules and cover one another.
    • Make vacation time part of your strategic plan to keep the team engaged, avoid burnout and boost productivity.

You don’t have to take a cruise to the Baltic Sea or ski the Swiss Alps to step away. Some over-the-top vacations can actually create stress and unrealistic expectations.

You can step away in your own state, city or neighborhood. For me, staying in town during holidays is peaceful. There is less noise, lighter traffic, and no waiting at the restaurants that are usually crowded. You can rest, take day trips, grill out, walk the dogs, and visit with family. There are also benefits to “active leisure time,” such as playing golf or tennis.

However you do it, step away to come back stronger. Otherwise you will most assuredly run out of gas.