Unplugging on vacation is a true gift to the companies we work for. Empowering employees to unplug is one of the best ways to identify gaps within an organization for minimal cost. It helps identify the value of employees (sometimes overlooked) and simultaneously shows where cross-training still needs to occur. It also supports organizational resiliency. Smart managers realize and capitalize on the inherent benefits arising from employees unplugging. Next time you vacation, consider the following benefits that unplugging provides the companies we work for:
- Identifies Employee Value, Points Out Gaps, and Supports Resiliency: Despite our efforts, sometimes the value we really bring to an organization gets overlooked. Assuming you’ve taken steps to adequately prepare and plan your vacation, unplugging on vacation provides a rare opportunity to point out your true value to the organization (read article #1 for vacation preparation tips and how to highlight your value). Seen in this light, unplugging on vacation is really a gift to our organizations – and smart managers should recognize this. It provides a reflection opportunity and paves the path for organizational resiliency and business continuity without waiting for a crisis to occur. Management should utilize this time to observe and identify where pain points are arising, as well as reflect on the inherent value employees are bringing to the team. If you are a manager – support and empower your teams to unplug.
- Fresh Perspectives & Insights: Companies benefit from fresh perspectives. For example, new employees are often valued for their new ideas and different approaches they offer to organizations. Similarly, when we fully unplug, we have the tendency to reflect on things from a more strategic and holistic viewpoint, rather than getting stuck in our day-to-day routines. There is deep value in the “unwinding process” that vacations provide, and it shouldn’t be overlooked or discounted. In fact, this idea is not new to the business world. Leadership Retreats are usually held for consecutive days and almost always outside of office locations (quite often, in resort settings) because the value of “unwinding” is recognized for what it does: it stimulates the creative process. Next time you unplug, reflect on the wisdom that arises from your downtime and consider the value you are bringing to your organization because of it.
- It Frees Others to Do the Same: The reality is we don’t have good role models in our work environments. Most of us are surrounded by people much like ourselves – and few (if any) of us have figured out how to find balance in our work-lives. Multiple studies point to this imbalance (see article links below), but the easiest reflection is simply to look at ourselves. We are overworked, highly exhausted, and in desperate need of some down-time. By showing the way and paving the path of setting healthy boundaries for yourself (with strong preparation steps and adequate expectations setting – see article #1), you are giving a gift to our coworkers. Sometimes the value of this isn’t revealed until much later, but rest assured – your professionalism and ability to respect and honor your own downtime is an inspiration to those around you.
- It’s Healthy: A healthy and happy you benefit your company in many ways. There is significant research available that points to the value of employee wellness, unplugging on vacation, and also the detriment of being overworked and chronic workplace stress. Below are some relevant article links. Also, if you enjoy statistics and research on this topic, check out Stanford University Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer’s book Dying for A Paycheck.
- Surprising Numbers on Unplugging on Vacation – Project Time Off
- Americans Need to Take a Break – The Economist
- Why You Really Need to Unplug While on Vacation – Entrepreneur
- The U.S. is the Most Overworked Developed Nation in the World – 20 Something Finance
- The Business Benefits of a Healthy Workforce – Harvard School of Public Health