Vacations, whether home-based or involving travel are important components to work/life balance, productivity and relieving work-related stress. A few days off to move children into their dorm at college or to help your parents relocate to a retirement community don’t count as vacations. Time away from work that includes checking business e-mail and voicemail multiple times a day doesn’t count as vacation either.
According to a Vacation Deprivation Survey, U.S. employees reported “feeling rested and rejuvenated after vacation as well as reconnected with their families.” 34% of employees in the survey stated they return to work feeling better about their jobs and more productive at work. According to a 2013 survey by SHRM, the Society of Human Resource Management, vacations affect employee morale, wellness, performance, retention, productivity and office culture.
I reported to a Sr. Vice-President with the attitude that if your department couldn’t function without their leader for five days, you needed to replace your managers and supervisors. Interesting Perspective!
Forward-thinking companies encourage their employees to recharge their batteries by implementing “use it or lose it” vacation policies. Companies also “cap” or limit the amount of vacation carry-over or pay-out for unused time off in an effort to keep their high-performers at optimal productivity.
There are many reasons managers resist taking time off and most of them are revealing. Here are a few examples:
1. The “live-to-work” manager who doesn’t own the business. There’s a fine line between at-work martyrs who feel guilty unless they log more hours than their peers and goes on ad nauseam about it and a workaholic.
2. The “arsonist manager” constantly is on the telephone putting out fires mostly caused by (guess who?).
3. The “micro-manager” is prevalent in middle management. At the heart of this manager’s reluctance to miss a minute of work is F-E-A-R. Take a deep sniff; you can smell it. This is the manager who can’t miss a telephone call or an e-mail and they are in your workspace to make sure you don’t miss one either.
4. The “I-AM- My Work” Boss. This is the manager defined by their work. Within moments of meeting any one the, “what do you do for a living” question is blurted out. A week without life-affirming work spells a near death experience.
Individual contributors can also exhibit similar traits, but it is more damaging for managers because they create and control the culture of their work unit. So take a few days off. Recharge your batteries. Reclaim your life outside work and more than anything, Have Fun!