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How to say goodbye to work worries while on vacation
Sometimes itís OK to put work on hold
 
Published Tuesday, June 17, 2014 4:00 am
by Brandpoint

 

PHOTO/BRANDPOINT
 Experts say working year round with no days off can be a detriment to your health, but researchers have found that 23 percent of Americans do not bother to take a vacation. Of those who do, 61 percent report doing some work while away from the office.

Summer officially begins this weekend. Finally, that long-awaited vacation is on the horizon.

Be careful not to spend your precious time away so caught up in work that you miss out on the opportunity to reconnect with loved ones. In today’s fast paced society, it can be hard to unplug and unwind. Many travelers find themselves unable to relax and just be in the moment.

According to a report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research, 23 percent of Americans are so unable to relax that they take no vacation time at all. And when these workaholic employees actually take time off, many have trouble simply enjoying a vacation while being completely disconnected from work.

It's important to understand the value of taking time off from work.

"A well-placed vacation can help break the cycle of everyday workplace-related stress," said Joffrey Suprina, dean of the College of Behavioral Sciences at Argosy University. "Chronic stress takes a toll on our body's health, disrupting its ability to resist infection, maintain vital functions and even avoid injury. When you're stressed out and tired, you are more likely to become ill. Your sleep will suffer and not only do you become more irritable, depressed, and anxious, but your memory will become worse and you'll make poor decisions. So vacations are important to our overall physical and mental health."

A new survey from Glassdoor found that 61 percent of employees admitted to doing some work while on vacation. In a connected world of smartphones, iPads and Wi-Fi, that might not seem like a big deal. It's easy to work remotely. However, many people aren't getting the most of their vacation. Checking an email can easily lead to jumping on a project, which has potential to take up hours of your valuable vacation time.

"Taking time off has a positive effect on employee happiness and productivity, however many people are simply afraid to walk away from their work even for a few days," says Carlos Tasso E. De Aquino, assistant dean of the Graduate School of Business and Management at Argosy University. "With globalization and increasing competition, the workforce feels threatened to lose their jobs to people anywhere in the world, so they develop this 'addiction' and never stop working.”

So before you leave the office for vacation, assign a person to help others regarding your normal responsibilities and let everybody clearly know who this person is - including them in an automatic email reply and voice mail.

"Consider a time blocking strategy, where you choose a small block of time to catch up on work,” said Suprina. “Let your coworkers know that this is the only time you'll be responding to emails, calls and other work needs. By doing this you'll be in control of your responsibilities, setting employee expectations, and alleviating some of the stress that comes from having to constantly check in.”

Another good idea is to train your stand-in coworker well in advance. Consider having your employees partner up with somebody who understands their job. When their counterpart goes on vacation, only they can contact each other if something comes up. This means that all the attempts to access the vacationing employee have to go through their "gatekeeper" who can judge just how important it actually is to contact that employee.

Vacations give you a chance to unwind, enjoy life, and to keep your work-life balance from swinging too far toward work. They allow you to take a step back from your normal, stressful routine and enjoy a bit of rest and relaxation. So go ahead this summer and take a few days off. Just don't forget to bring a camera.

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