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The Benefits of Taking Quick Getaways

The Benefits of Taking Quick Getaways

    I just came back from a quick getaway and it was such a worthwhile experience. Today with increasing financial constraints, which limits many people from taking longer, farther vacations, the quick getaway is a fantastic option.

    No need for many vacation days

    The quick getaway does not require taking a week’s worth of vacation days. It can be done over a long weekend or even just a normal two-day weekend. My latest trip was just two nights away.

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    One can save up vacation days for those future longer trips further from home. Even a two-night trip can result in adequate recharging of the batteries. Such a break allows me to return with more productivity. I came back from this trip totally satisfied, refreshed and ready for normal life again.

    The short getaways also teach you to pack efficiently as well as use some healthy habits during travels so that you become more prepared when the time comes to take longer vacations. Think of them as test trips before that big voyage you will take someday.

    No need for expensive flights or hotels

    Although it certainly is possible to fly to a destination for a quick getaway like I have in the past such as short trips to Florida for some scuba diving, many quick getaways can be done through driving within say six to eight hours each way. My recent trip was a pleasant six-hour drive from Toronto to Montreal where I met up with a few local friends. We then drove down to Vermont the next day which is just two hours away for a day of awesome snow skiing.

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    I stayed at a very reasonably priced hotel in Montreal and my CAA/AAA card got me a very nice discount. The chain of hotel I stayed at provides free breakfasts in the morning, which helped me, save on my meals.

    Catching up with friends is socially satisfying

    On this trip, I got to catch up with my Montreal friends whom I see maybe only once per year. This made the trip very rewarding from a social point of view as I think it is very important to reconnect with friends who live out of town.

    Indeed, friends will always feel great that you have made the time and effort to travel out to see them in their home cities. These same friends can also help you keep updated with the latest happenings in their cities whether it is the latest events or shopping opportunities.

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    During my trip, I got together a few of my local friends and they have never met each other before. So my social get-together provided them new local social connections as well.

    Expanding your horizons makes you more interesting

    Upon returning home, the experiences you get during your quick getaways will make you a more interesting person in the eyes of the folks you work and socialize with back in your home territory. They often want to know how your trip was and in my case, my fellow snow skiers back home were very interested to hear what my report was of the place where I skied at in Vermont.

    Instead of spending yet another weekend at home, I chose to go somewhere for a quick trip to not only socialize with a few out of town friends, but to also experience something or some place new. This was certainly the case as it was my first trip in the part of Vermont I went to. With just two days of regional travel, I expanded my own horizons.

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    So to get similar benefits that a standard long vacation would usually provide, one does not necessarily have to take entire weeks off at a time. Instead, short getaways can result in the same type of benefits and one can even possibly take more of them throughout the year without digging really deep into the finances.

    Conclusion

    Consider all the different places you can travel to within say an eight hour drive radius and make a few of these your future quick getaways. These types of trips are great for the soul and easy on the bank account.

    Feel free to share in the comments section below some of the quick getaways you have taken or would like to take in the future.

    (Photo credit: Landscape of snow and snow-covered pine trees via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on September 28, 2020

    The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

    The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

    At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

    Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

    One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

    When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

    So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

    Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

    This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

    Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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    When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

    Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

    One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

    Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

    An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

    When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

    Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

    Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

    We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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    By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

    Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

    While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

    I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

    You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

    Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

    When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

    Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

    Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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    Con #2: Less Human Interaction

    One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

    Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

    Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

    This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

    While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

    Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

    Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

    This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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    For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

    Con #4: Unique Distractions

    Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

    For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

    To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

    Final Thoughts

    Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

    We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

    More About Working From Home

    Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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