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Why You Should Take the Vacation

Let me ask you a question, are you taking the vacation because you’re already tired or are you taking the vacation before you’re tired?

Now I’m not talking about having the obligatory family vacay with the kids that happens every summer, I’m talking about a VACATION, whether that includes the whole gang or just for you.

I promise there’s a method behind the madness, but hear me out. Do you often still feel tired post-vacation? Or do you feel rejuvenated and raring to go?

If you answered that you were tired in both questions, reason stands to blame burnout. But why is that such a big deal, that’s the purpose of a vacation, to recharge batteries once they're drained, right?

WRONG. While yes our batteries do need to be recharged and a vacation is a fantastic way to do so, it isn’t necessarily the best way to do it.

We don’t wait till our phones are already dead before we plug them into a charger so why are we doing the same things to ourselves? It takes longer to recoup from a burnout than it is to prevent them.

With American’s taking a historical low in usage of vacation time it's a wonder those in the workforce are so burnt out!

data showing historic lows of Americans taking vacation days off compared to 30 years ago

It’s a big deal to take time to vacation. When we wait till we are already feeling exhausted and drained it makes lasting damage for our bodies (mentally, emotionally, physically) that takes longer to heal from. 

But when we take preventative measures such as a mini vacay during the hustle and bustle and maybe start implementing other company measures such as a four day work week, our bodies are able to take the necessary time to recharge and heal when our battery levels take a dip. 

Because they will, nobody is superhuman enough to combat natural fatigue that humans experience doing brain work 5 days a week, 40 hours long, year round.

In a study performed by U.S. Travel Association and Project: Time Offshowed that 95% of people surveyed claimed that using paid time off was important and yet 55% of Americans left vacation days unused, estimating that there are over 658 million unused vacation days.

At that point you’re not working but rather volunteering your work time and providing free labor to employers by forfeiting vacation time.

The traditional thinking is similar to Dwight Shrute fromThe Office in the scene where he was gunning for a promotion. He presented documentation showing he never took a day off and was never late.

You'd think that would make him a great candidate for a promotion since he’s dedicated to the company right? 

Wrong. He didn’t get the promotion, and statistics from Project: Time Off is showing it’s not just anOfficething. 

Of those who took 10 or fewer vacation days in a year only 34.6% had the likelihood of receiving a promotion or bonus in a three-year period of time. Those who took 11 or more vacation days had a 65.4% chance of receiving a raise or a bonus.

Graphic data showing the correlation between getting a promotion and taking vacation

Not only does vacation time help with pay it has also been proven to help increase health and productivity in employees (hey, less sick days to take!)

Research by the World Health Organization (WHO) International Labor Organization found that working 55 hours or more a week was associated with a 35% higher risk of stroke and a 17% higher risk of dying from heart disease than a workweek of 35 to 40 hours.

A study conducted by New Zealand Air had participants wear a sleep monitoring device to track quality of sleep and a journal three days before their vacation until three days after their vacation. 

Researchers found that within 2-3 days of their vacation participants averaged an hour of good quality sleep and improved 80% on reaction times. After coming home they were still maintaining that extra hour of sleep and their reaction time was 30%-40% higher than beforehand. 

Vacation times allow our brains to relax and dry out, which according to Brigid Shulte, author of Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time is when our creative minds work the best. “Neuroscience is so clear, through PET scans and MRIs, that the ‘aha’ moment comes when you’re in a relaxed state of mind,” said Shulte.

Shulte’s seconded by Adam Galinsky, professor and chair of the management division at Columbia Business School, who says that based on studies, when our brains are able to experience foreign activities (or non-routine tasks) we increase our depth and integrativeness of thought, cognitive flexibility, and the ability to make deep connections between disparate forms.

In other words, this is why we have great ideas in the shower or when we go for a walk.

Vacations also allow us to come back to work ready to go with opportunities from being able to dry our brains out from the routine of work and putting out fires within our jobs, to resonate and execute creative thinking. 

I guarantee it works. Why? Because that’s exactly what we do here at Brightbox! But it’s not just us, the workforce is changing to where bosses are asking you to take the time to vacation before youneedto take a vacation.

Have fun planning out those vacations this summer, and remember, it’s for your own good! Hey, you might get a promotion from it.


The Brightbox Team

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