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8 Reasons Why Taking A Vacation Makes You Better At Work

8 Reasons Why Taking A Vacation Makes You Better At Work

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.

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“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

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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?

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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.

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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.

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

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Robert Locke

Freelance writer

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Published on September 18, 2018

17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

Have there been instances when you noted a drop in your team’s productivity or observed a behavioral change in someone who used to be an excellent performer?

Before you blame the team for not being motivated enough or worse still, choose to ignore these warning signs, look inwards and ask yourself if YOU are doing enough to keep your team motivated in the first place.

Motivating employees is extremely crucial. As the leader of the pack, it is your responsibility to ensure each and every member of your team feels valued, driven and motivated.

After all, you cannot expect a bunch of disengaged and demotivated people to deliver results and grow your business, can you?

Here are 17 surefire tactics for motivating your employees and building a productive team:

1. Show your appreciation

In the whole race to achieve external business goals, leaders often forget to value their most important assets — their employees.

The least you can do to boost performance and morale is to appreciate your employees, recognize their efforts and give them credit when it is due.

Whether it’s sending a personalized note, recognizing achievements publicly during team huddles or even rewarding top performers at the end of every month, you will be surprised to see how these small acts of appreciation can go a long way.

2. Communicate effectively

Effective communication can do wonders in motivating employees. Who is a strong communicator? Someone who knows what they are talking about and are able to convey their message accurately.

Communication is a lot more than just language and talking. Factors such as eye contact, active listening, hand gestures and postures also say a lot about a person’s communication skills.

3. Be open to dialogue

Gone are the days when leading through fear and putting on the tough, distant leader act would work.

New age leadership is all about instilling trust by being accessible and encouraging discussions. Your team needs to feel comfortable speaking to you and you need to set the tone for such a camaraderie.

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In spite of having a busy schedule, you can still show you care through simple, effective acts.

For instance, having an open door policy, showing genuine interest while interacting with your employees or even greeting your team members helps breaking barriers and projects you as an accessible leader.

4. Provide constructive criticism

Giving negative feedback is always tricky — you don’t want to hurt feelings nor do you want the feedback to be taken lightly.

So, what do you do? The idea is to offer criticism such that it inspires change and delivers results.

Firstly, take criticism behind closed doors because nothing breaks self esteem the way calling out employees in public does.

Have a one-on-one discussion with the concerned person and make your feedback very specific. Be clear about your expectations and offer guidance on how they can improve.

Most importantly, give them the chance to explain their side of the story too instead of jumping to conclusions.

5. Conduct one-on-ones

Yes, you conduct weekly meetings with the team but how well do you know them on a personal level?

While you may think this isn’t an important practice to follow, it is one of the best ways to engage with your employees and identify what drives them.

Conduct a one-one-one session every month and use it to understand how your employees are doing and if they are facing any roadblocks.

More than reviewing performances, consider this as a relationship building tool to ensure you are aligned with your team and are working towards a shared, common goal.

6. Build training programs

In this ever-changing business landscape, it is important to ensure your employees are updated with the latest, relevant skills that can help boost productivity and performance.

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From imparting technical and soft skills to offering mentoring programs – investing in training and development significantly helps in motivating employees and keeps the learning going.

While conducting training programs, remember to keep them engaging and interactive. They need to ultimately drive value and reinforce learnings.

7. Offer growth opportunities

Every employee envisions a different career path for themselves and demotivation strikes the day they feel they have reached stagnation. As a leader, you need to first be aligned with their goals and offer ample growth opportunities that constantly keeps them engaged and motivated.

Growth opportunities go beyond just financial growth. While money is a huge driving factor, what makes most people tick is making progress in the company and going up the career ladder.

Being faced with new challenges and responsibilities lets them push the envelope and broaden their knowledge and skills.

8. Reward them

Go beyond verbal recognition and reward employees for their notable work. You can start an incentive program and reward top performers. This ensures increased productivity and brings out the best in them.

If you don’t have enough budgets for that, you can also reward top performers with movie tickets, a paid vacation or something as simple as giving them the option to work from home.

Rewarding employees promotes healthy competition and motivates them while meeting business goals.

9. Encourage team outings

Employee motivation also stems from how connected the team is. Invest time in team building because a team that works collaboratively is likely to deliver better results.

From bowling nights to hosting team dinners – team outings are a great way to get to know each other and bond. Assign someone from your team to be in charge of organizing these monthly outings and make sure you join them too!

10. Involve them

Involve your employees in decision making because when they are involved, they feel more valued and part of a larger cause.

Seek your team’s opinion and encourage healthy debates within the team. This boosts employee morale and challenges them to work harder as they know they are in a position to make an impact and will be taken seriously.

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11. Set meaningful goals

In the beginning of the financial year, make sure you sit down with each employee to set meaningful and realistic goals. The goal-setting conversation is an extremely crucial one and needs to be a two-way street.

Whether your employee feels burdened or doesn’t feel inspired enough by the assigned goals – this is the time to come to a consensus and assign goals derived from business objectives that foster individual development while keeping in mind their strengths and weaknesses.

12. Empower them

You cannot expect employees to be motivated for long if you micro manage the team and do all the talking.

Trust your employees and empower them to take decisions. Mistakes will happen but that is the only way they will learn.

Be open to discussions, delegate effectively, set your expectations and give your team the freedom to do it their way.

13. Deal with conflict

A conducive work environment is one wherein there is open communication and trust, but every once in a while, you do encounter people in the team who indulge in office politics and spread negativity.

How much ever fulfilled an employee feels with their work, gossiping co-workers are bound to ruin it for them. Workplace gossip if not tackled hampers productivity and soils working relations.

As a responsible leader, you need to maintain a conducive work environment and act as a mediator in such cases. Don’t be the leader who is locked up in his/her cabin and is unaware of what is brewing within the team.

14. Implement a flexible work culture

Flexible work cultures are a growing trend and are here to stay.

Whether it is offering flexible working hours or allowing employees to work from home once in a month – a flexible work culture promotes work-life balance and aids in employee satisfaction.

It shows that the management is sensitive to employees’ schedules and is thereby highly appreciated.

15. Host engaging activities

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy and we cannot agree more! So, why not devote one day of the week to employee engagement activities?

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From hosting baking competitions to introducing wellness programs in the office – let your team have some fun beyond work. This keeps the environment engaging, light-hearted and interesting, giving them all the more reason to look forward to coming to work.

16. Maintain a positive work space

Your employees spend more than half their day at work and in order to keep them energized and motivated, it is important to maintain a positive and inspiring work space.

Have a recreation center where employees can unwind after a hard day’s work, offer free snacks and beverages and invest in an open office design that promotes socializing and conversations.

These are simple yet effective ways to create a space your employees will love coming to.

17. Avoid discrimination

Any kind of discrimination, be it due to age, gender, religion or race hugely impacts employee motivation and performance.

In order to avoid such cases, you must lay down rules against discrimination and take strict action against accused employees. Lead by example and make sure no one in the team is a victim of bias and discrimination.

The bottom line

Don’t underestimate the power of motivating employees. Understand that the more engaged and motivated they are, the better their performance will be.

It is also a good idea to send out a survey and get feedback from your employees on the company culture, work environment and their motivation levels.

This will help you be more aligned with their expectations and further improve your efforts in building a stronger, engaged team.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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