If you rarely take time off from work, will you move up the corporate ladder quicker as an employee? Possibly. But is that your perception of how your boss thinks? Or is it the pressure you put on yourself?
On the other side of the coin, are you an employer who subtly favors employees who never utilize the time provided as a benefit from your company? Or, do you realize the advantages of a break from the office to recharge?
For the Employee
Dedicated employees want to succeed, and if you’re with a strong company, there is internal competition. You shouldn’t always consider that negative because healthy competition is healthy, especially if leadership inspires camaraderie where support among the team is a natural celebration.
Are you the team member who never takes their allotted vacation and even works on holidays when others spend time alone outside of the office or with their family? Does your counterpart take their vacation and come back recharged and doesn’t miss a beat? Does your internal self think that there must be a trick?
- Taking work with them
- Keeping in touch with the office daily
- Faking it and then silently freaking out when they return
It’s difficult to fake a lighthearted, recharged mood, so the answer to the above scenarios is most likely NO.
You, too, can be that person. Do you wonder how you can accomplish this if you’re so busy? You can do it with practice and upfront planning.
- Before submitting your “time-off” request, check with your immediate supervisor to see if they have any conflicts with that proposed time, especially if you’re in a leadership role. If you’ve been with the company a while, you’ll know the ebbs and flows of incoming work, so think about that before approaching them. Of course, if there’s a conflict and your request is related to a family emergency or life event, the decision has to be yours – no guilt involved.
- Work closely in advance with other team members who will be “carrying the weight” in your absence. Bring them up-to-speed on outstanding items, so the service you provide is seamless.
- Alert your customers or clients in advance that you’ll be out for a specific period. Give them a heads up to who will be their temporary point person.
The goal is that you feel free to go “do your thing” without worry. And, the benefit to the company is that you’ll come back revived.
And if planned correctly, you won’t have a stack of work on your desk when you return.
For the Employer
How can you help facilitate a non-fear of taking vacation atmosphere? FOSTER IT! When you encourage your employees to take advantage of their time off, you benefit in several ways:
- Happy Employees – #1 Reason
- More productive workforce as they know they can be highly effective with the ability to plan a recharge without fear of recourse.
- A happy team that works together knows if they “cover the fort” for a colleague, they will do the same when they need to take a break.
It’s difficult not to openly push the team to continue moving forward when working in a fast-paced environment. When you walk around with the subtle praise of anyone who bypasses allotted vacation time, you get the reverse reaction and may never know it. If employees fear they will lose their job because they’re “human,” they may be physically present but not fully there mentally. Don’t risk a lack of productivity because you cannot let your team take a break. Remember, it’s easy to look busy with no positive outcome.
How Can You Help?
It’s easy! If you follow some of the suggestions below, you’ll be set up for success and will look like the leader you should be to your team.
- Encourage vacation and instill the values of advance notice. BUT, understand sometimes circumstances need to be spontaneous as life happens. It’s your job to have systems in place to accommodate last-minute requests.
- Set up cross-training exercises so that every individual is comfortable leaving for a week, or two, knowing that all is under control. And VERY IMPORTANT if it can be managed, make it so the employee can come back to a clean (or semi-clean) desk. Getting out of the office for a period of time knowing how much work is waiting for them can be incredibly counterproductive.
- Celebrate people who recharge and if you have the capability or connections, use your resources to offer discounts or advice on destinations that will fit their budget, even if it’s a local “staycation.”