Chances are you or someone you know in the workplace often talks about “needing a vacation” but never take one because you just “can’t break away.” In fact, studies show that millions of Americans intentionally take less vacation days now than they did 40 years ago because they believe that no one else can do what they do at the office. Ironically though, studies also show that those who take vacations make better employees. They lead to better physical health, more productivity, increased mental power, newer perspectives, and a lower chance of burn out.
In today’s corporate culture, it’s becoming much more common to find employees who are blurring the lines between their work and personal lives. With emails, text messages, phone calls, and social media being accessible all in one place at the literal touch of a button, it’s easy to let work creep in to personal time even while employees are away from the office—especially on vacation. Interestingly enough, however, today’s workers are beginning to show a preference for less separation between work and personal life in favor for more integration. Mainly because it allows for one overarching quality: flexibility. When flexibility is part of the equation, workers don’t hesitate to mix work with personal life because it means they can do what they want, when they want. Even on vacation.
While many people see technology as a hindrance on work-life balance, it can also be one of the best tools to allow employees to actually live their lives a little more fully—to break away from the traditional 8-5 model during the day-to-day, but actually feel like they can take a vacation without it sacrificing the success of their careers, too.
Granted, a vacation isn’t really a vacation if it just turns into an extension of the office – it’s essential to be able to disconnect from work while on vacation. But that same technology that keeps employees tied to their smartphones is also what can allow them to join in on a conference call when they are at a beach resort 4 time zones away from the office. Or even respond to important client emails when they are 30,000 feet in the air while traveling to or from their vacation destination. It allows employees who typically forego vacations because of the stress of leaving work to actually enjoy the best of both worlds from time to time.
So instead of letting technology tie you down to your job, look at it as your golden ticket to being able to integrate work into your personal life so that work doesn’t have to completely control it. This year, do yourself a favor and put your vacation days to use. You’ll be a better employee because of it.
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