Workaholics please take note – a vacation is a must. So forget your guilty feelings. Trash your stoical attitude of boasting about not having had a break since the year dot. Times have changed!

We still have a long way to go but more and more employers and business owners are now realizing that taking a break may actually be more productive in the long run. However, one survey shows that half of the respondents were thinking of skipping the vacation or even taking work with them on holiday.

Another study shows that 82 percent of small business owners who took a vacation were performing better at work when they got back. An added bonus is that about a third of men who actually take this sensible step are less likely to die of heart disease. We need to face up to the truth:

  • Burnout will damage your reputation and your business.
  • You have a duty to be on top of the job.
  • Take an example from sports stars who regularly take breaks.
  • Fatigue will make relationships with stakeholders problematic.

So, here are eight reasons why taking a vacation makes you better at work. You can thank me afterwards.

1. Your office is not the place for inspiration

The work environment is hardly the place to generate new ideas, approaches and problem-solving techniques. You cannot be creative or get inspiration when you are under enormous pressure. A change of scene on a vacation can work wonders. You cannot switch off completely, but when you relax, creativity may blossom. Your mind will start asking questions you never thought of up until now. You’ll have a clearer mind because you are no longer tired.

“Vacations help us change the view, which can spark an idea or kick start creative thinking.” – Rieva Lesonsky, CEO GrowBiz Media.

2. Leave your comfort zone

Taking a vacation is a challenge because you will be moving outside your normal sphere or comfort zone. You will have to get the office organized and work sorted while you are away. It is a wonderful opportunity to delegate and it is beneficial to actually see how the office performs without you. You will have to set up emergency contact procedures just in case, but ideally there should be no other contact with the office.

“Without vacations, we all become droids on network steroids, perhaps the president included.” – Lexy Funk, CEO Brooklyn Industries.

3. Your health benefits enormously

Look at all the extra bonuses you get. You feel better, sleep well and your mood is lifted. Your stress and anxiety are lower. Heart function and blood pressure begin to come back to normal levels.

“Vacations are extremely important. I come back energized and refueled and some of my best innovation either happens on vacation or immediately following because I have left my stress at the office.” – Julie Jumonville, CEO of UpSpring Baby

4. Give your brain a break

Did you know that the USA is one of the countries where there are fewer days paid vacation, averaging only about 10 days a year? In the EU, the figure is almost double that because 20 days of paid holidays per year are the norm.

Most office workers are suffering from a sort of brain flooding where data in the form of emails, phone messages and other documentation starts pouring across the desks. Their brains are like sponges – they can only take so much.  But on vacation, new ideas and exotic vistas can strengthen the neural connections and stimulate mental activity.

Now, if you are worried that taking a vacation could help your competitors get ahead, think again. Research shows that the benefits of emotional stability and the mental relaxation process after a vacation will put you at the top of your game.

Your brain will be buzzing and you will be on a motivational high when you get back. Now that should worry your competitors a lot more.

5. A change is needed

Sheryl Crow sang, “A change would do you good.” If more people decided to change and take a vacation, then that would benefit the travel industry in the US by $67 billion! Now apart from helping the travel agents out, what benefits are there for you in deciding to make a change?

Experiment with when you can take a vacation. Opt for the 100-hour one where you can add two or three days at either side of the weekend.

Change your idea that you can switch off at any time. One neurologist says that our brains make it progressively more difficult to switch off if we never take a break. You definitely need a change.

6. Do some networking

While on vacation, you will probably meet lots of new people and you will engage with some of them. They may well be in the same business so it really is worth your while maintaining contact through your LinkedIn profile and message center.

The opportunities are endless. You can discover new leads, explore potential new markets, plan revenue generating ventures, and new partnerships. It will happen naturally and the follow up should be friendly and without pressure.

7. Look at these extra bonuses

If you are a business owner, you will discover that the office can be run without you. You can see straightaway whether the delegating has worked and whether the projects are still on target. You will never discover how teams really work unless you take a vacation.

If you are an employee or in team leader role, the same principle applies. Yes, the office can do without you but in your case, you have shown that your organizing skills are excellent and that you have successfully planned ahead. The projects will all meet their deadlines and the team is working well together. Now that should impress your boss!

8. Keep yourself and your workers happy

The famous accounting firm Ernst &Young did an interesting survey. They found that those who took more vacation time were getting consistently better grades on their performance assessment at the end of the year. Overall, they improved by eight percent. The holidaymakers had greater job satisfaction and were more likely to stay with the company.

So, forget the old work ethic that longer hours mean dedication and higher productivity. Take a vacation instead.

Check out: Summertime: Rehab Time for Workaholics

Featured photo credit: woman feet in hammock on the beach via shutterstock.com

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