Expedia’s 2016 Vacation Deprecation Report tells us nothing new about the state of North American leisure—we waste a lot of paid vacation time. On average, North Americans take 12 days off despite having 15 paid ones available, equating to nearly 375 million wasted days collectively.
One of the greatest challenges in today’s modern workplace is overcoming vacation guilt. Although entitled to time off, employers often pressure their employees not to take time off during busy seasons. Similarly, employees take on so many responsibilities that it feels impossible to break for extended periods without the world collapsing.
Previously, we’ve written on how to effectively book more time off work; however, it’s important to revisit this topic and explain why. In many ways, vacationing can improve work productivity rather than detract from it. Let’s explore how.
Continuous work strains our cognitive and emotional resources, leading to stress, fatigue and negativity—none of which contributes to productivity. Studies demonstrate that short workday breaks can restore said mental resources, keeping us focused and efficient. However, if we engage in non-restorative activities like shopping or chores, then we do not reap the benefits.
The chief issue we face after work hours and on weekends is disconnecting, or “unplugging”—a reason why vacationing is so important. Vacations force us to escape from the day-to-day and engage in restorative activities.
Creativity strikes randomly and never where you might expect. Familiar environments can stifle creativity for this reason. Travelling introduces us to new places, people and ways of thinking. Consequently, we might generate new ideas abroad to take back to work.
Even if not for a spark of creativity, vacationing at least distances you from workplace problems, giving you a fresh perspective for finding new approaches and solutions.
As mentioned, you meet sundry characters when you travel. Many interactions go no further than hello; however, you sometimes meet like-minded professionals who are interested in networking. Even if the vacation talk never delves into business matters, these people are new connections to explore afterward.