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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
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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

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

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