Take a Vacation!

AUTHOR'S NOTE:  Another topic that appears to be timeless is American workers and their reluctance to take time off.  I have shared similar thoughts with staff in my last three jobs,  As always, confidential and proprietary information has been removed.

Dear Colleagues;  

With Memorial Day weekend right around the corner my first topic is....TAKE A VACATION.

So before anyone thinks I am suggesting a "vacation" from reaching our utilization goals, serving our clients flawlessly and making our financial commitments, I am most certainly not. Let's just acknowledge that as a given. We have to do that, of course. But remember, our utilization goals reflect PTO and it is the responsibility of our account leadership to staff our client's businesses during holidays and vacations.

So...we've established that fact, right? Now let's look at some other realities.

  • According to a study called the "Vacation Deprivation Study" (a brilliant marketing initiative from Expedia) Americans, Japanese and Koreans take the fewest vacation days and are therefore the most vacation deprived.

  • The national employment firm called Hudson also conducted a survey and found that more than 50% of Americans did not use alltheir vacation days and 30% use only half of them.

  • And then there is the "faux-cation" -- the totally plugged in and online vacation that is what a staggering 86% of us do regularly. How many of you besides me have been checking email, participating on a conference call or on the phone with "the office" while a loved one looks longingly (or disapprovingly) at you? Of course there are circumstances where we need to do that, but probably not as many as you think.

    At this point it might be fair to ask me if I have something against a strong work ethic? The answer is no, of course not, but I do worry that too often we define "hard work" in terms of number of hours — not by the output. After all, isn't what we create, the attention to detail we provide for client events, the sharply focused counsel during a crisis or the strategic insights that we uncover what our clients value most?

    And guess what? Creativity, flawless execution, sharp reactions and strategic thinking are all just a little bit sharper when we are rested and re- energized.

    Precisely why we all need to take a vacation as part of our commitment to do great work.

    It has been scientifically proven (and it doesn't get much more scientific than NASA who did this research) that vacationers experienced an 82% increase in performance post trip. Vacations also promote stress-relief — and not just when you are away. Research has shown that there is a measurable reduction in the number of stressful days for at least five weeks post vacation. There is also the very real fact that vacations can help us to stay physically healthy, allow us to make or restore important personal connections, stave-off burnout and perhaps most importantly for our line of work, allow us to refuel and be inspired creatively by trying something new or just soaking in beautiful surroundings.

So I hope you will all be safe and enjoy this first long weekend of summer and that you come back with a little more energy, enthusiasm and some fresh ideas. I know I will.