Up Front - The Publisher's Column
For years I have struggled with it … and my family will be the first to tell you: No matter how much vacation time I have, I always seem to leave plenty on the table at the end of the year.
Don’t get me wrong. We’ve always had the annual family vacation that took us away from home for a week or so. And generally, I take an extra day or two around the larger holidays. But other than that, I don’t take much time off throughout the year.
I am not particularly proud of this fact, but it just seems that there is always something going on at work that keeps me from taking time off.
When our children were younger, my wife, Jessica, stayed home with them — a sacrifice to this day that we have never regretted. However, it also provided me with an excuse to say, “Jess is home with the kids. She’ll take care of any situation that arises on the home front. There’s no reason to take a vacation day.” Probably not some of my smartest thinking ... as it would not have been just me benefiting from the time away from the office, but Jessica could have used a few more breaks throughout those years and definitely deserved more help from me at home.
All this is a bit ironic seeing as I’m always encouraging our staff to take their vacation time. They’ve earned it, and in almost every instance, they come back refreshed, energized and ready to jump right back into things. I guess I am much better at preaching than practicing.
In today’s 24/7 environment, it is hard not to look at emails or check in while we are out of the office. We are all guilty of it — whether we want to believe it our not. How many times over the weekend do you look down at your phone to check work emails just to make sure you didn’t miss an important message that couldn’t wait to be opened or read until Monday morning? What about during the week, after hours or before the work day begins?
Not being able to disconnect from work has become the new norm. Connectivity has become prevalent, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t or shouldn’t be able to separate from work. You just need to make it a priority.
Time away from the office is critical to your physical and mental health. We all need the time away to re-energize, re-organize and position our priorities in the right place. This, I would argue, makes employees even stronger assets to their organizations.
Again, I know that I am preaching and maybe not practicing as well as I should be. But I have committed myself to taking more time off as Jessica and I become empty-nesters in less than a year. We’ll pull out our bucket list of destinations — overseas and stateside, including interesting locations throughout the great state of Florida. Jessica will hold me to that, I’m sure, especially after she reads this column.
But in all seriousness, as managers, you should encourage your employees to take the time they need to refuel themselves, to put business stresses aside and to enjoy life for all that it has to offer. Believe me, your businesses will be better for it.
— David Denor, Publisher
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