What a great way to enjoy life – spend some time at the beach, explore the many mountains and national parks or visit a far off place. There are far too many in the world who don’t allow themselves the respite from their day to day grind. Studies show that a record 429 million vacation days go unused by U.S. workers. In a true test of leadership, this is an area where modeling good behavior can truly pay off for you and your team.
This same study showed that managers intellectually understand the benefits of taking the time – whether it be higher productivity while employees are at their desks, better mental health of those on their teams or the reduced risk of heart disease to name a few. Yet, many of these managers send the message that employees who use all of their vacation time are perceived as less dedicated to the organizations or their roles.
Over this summer, we charge you, leader in training, or leader in charge, to tackle these startling statistics. Challenge yourself to be supportive of your employees. Make time in your weekly meeting for an employee to share the highlights of a recent vacation. Encourage employees to discuss plans they have for future travel. Start a book club with your team. Help everyone disconnect by focusing attention to ideas outside their day-to-day. Here are a few books we recommend:
We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawaya
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
We are all Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joe Fowler
Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari
Finders Keepers by Stephen King
All the Way Home: Building a Family in a Falling Down Home by David Giffels
Take some leave for you. The medical community cites that even a 24 hour break can completely recharge you, giving you increased energy, creativity and patience. On your next break, leave your phone at home while you head to watch the fireworks. Your responses to anything that will come in will be much more productive if you do.