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Avoiding Stress and Taking a Proper Vacation

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We all benefit from a break from work. So why is it that we often bring our laptops, cellphones and other workplace items with us on vacation?

A hilarious graph published by PHD Comics helps to put things into perspective:

consultants talk about vacation

As we’ve written before, the best vacation is one where no cords are allowed, which will help improve improve employee satisfaction. Yet it’s difficult for people to unplug and head out of town stress-free. Why is that?

Much of the problem has to do with the way we perceive work. We often confuse productivity with activity. We sometimes think that working means doing something not necessarily doing something which advances the organization. Every minute we are away from the office can feel like our position or our business is slipping away. Therefore, we feel the urge to check email, make phone calls and read reports while sitting on the beach. This does not make for a good vacation.

Our small business consultants know it’s essential to take breaks at work, whether that’s to surf your favorite websites or even to visit the restroom, it will increase improve employee satisfaction. A vacation is just a longer form of a break to relax and recharge, and you should do your best to stay off your phone and your computer while you are away. When you return, you’re likely to discover that the world did not end. You’ll probably realize that you exaggerated the amount of work that piled up. And you’ll see that your coworkers did their best to keep the organization humming along in your absence.



© Flickr user Giorgio Montersino

This is a disturbing trend that doesn’t seem to be getting better with time. According to TIME, the youngest generation of workers seems to be the worst about working while on vacation.

This week, the Boston Globe called attention to the results of a survey conducted for Alamo Rent a Car, which indicates that even when Americans do take vacation days, to a disturbing degree they often aren’t truly taking these days off from work. Not entirely anyway. The survey reports:

Thirty-five percent of millennials reported that they worked every day of their vacations, and felt less productive when they returned.

That’s right: More than one-third of millennial workers say never actually take an entire day off. Ever. At some point every day during their “vacations,” they work.

In previous studies, six out of ten employees admitted that they’ve conducted some work on a recent vacation. But millennials appear to be the group most compelled to stay plugged in and productive each and every day, no matter if they’re supposedly not working that week.

We’re not talking about the “workcation” trend covered recently by the Wall Street Journal, in which employees work remotely from a vacation destination. Instead, people—young people in particular—are working during times that are, on paper at least, full-fledged vacations. And as Deborah Good, a human resources management professor at the University of Pittsburgh, told the WSJ, there is a problem if employees are pressured into never truly disconnecting from work: “There may be a backlash among employees if they feel they must work all the time and can’t ever have a real vacation.”

The next time you go on vacation, make a concerted effort to be both mentally and physically away from work. Leave your business professional attire in your closet and your business equipment at your desk at the office. Tell your colleagues that you won’t be available, even for emergencies, because you trust them to be able to handle whatever might come up. Focus on taking care of yourself so that you can take care of your responsibilities when you return. That’s the essence of a stress-free vacation: ensuring that you don’t have to worry about work.

For more information about how to de-stress and properly set yourself up for a relaxing vacation, contact the business improvement consultants at AccelaWork today!

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