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Yep, you need a work vacation STAT

Work vacation

Man, I used to write about the idea of a work vacation a lot. To wit:

I probably stopped writing as much about the work vacation idea when I went freelance. Freelance is weird in the sense that you can take a vacation whenever you want, and/or you are essentially never on vacation. Hard to describe to outsiders. I digress.

Now we’ve got some more research on the value of a work vacation, but first we need to frame up the issue. That won’t take long.

Why is taking a work vacation even an issue?

Pretty simple. See:

At that intersection, a work vacation fades slowly into the background. “What if Johnson jumps me in the hierarchy and I lose my perch?” Etc. It’s largely all bullshit, but many people do think this way about work.

The research-laden value of a work vacation

New post on The Ladders (decent blog, horrible job search site) on this. They link out to other research, including Namely’s 2017 HR Mythbusters (yes, that’s a thing) report. Namely found this:

 Low performers only took 14 days of vacation on average while top performers took 19 days off. What this data shows is that taking that afternoon off or extending your weekend may not seem like a lot, but it will have a lasting impact.

Makes sense to me. People who take less vacation days are cross-throwers. Usually cross-throwers value “busy” more than “productive.” Obviously they’d be lower performers. This is paradoxical to many, but I do think this way. So basically take 5 more days off. Have a zero fucks approach to work. Maybe your performance will improve.

Then you’ve got this: “psychologically detach” from work for 20 or so days a year and you’ll report more happiness;  and those who take a vacation are actually more likely to get a raise.

So, degrees of research seems to back up this whole work vacation deal.

So what’s the issue?

I’d say:

  • Money, as vacations are expensive — and moreso as you grow your family
  • The Temple of Busy bullshit above
  • How we relate to and think about work

Can we fix this? Maybe, but it would need to happen at an individual level. You’d need to realize that a work vacation could refresh and recharge you, so maybe you’d return to work with new, even “innovative” ideas. To me, that explains the raise research. But we tend to approach a lot of decision-making from a place of fear, and that’s the issue with work vacations. The place of fear would be “this person is going to jump me” or “There’s just no time.” The place of reality should be “This is good for my friends/family/myself.” But fear oftentimes > reality, so I see that too.

What else might you add on the whole concept of a work vacation and its decreasing nature?

Ted Bauer

2 Comments

  1. What if for every day off a subordinate doesn’t take, their manager loses a day? It would shift guilt to where it should be based on the research for what’s best for the company in the long run, your performance, mind and body.

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