Did you know that 705,000,000 paid vacation days went unused last year? Why is that?
Employees aren't using their well-deserved time off because work never seems to slow down, they're feeling the guilt associated with a break, or they dread coming back to an inbox flooded with emails.
No matter what's going on at the office, you shouldn't forgo your personal rejuvenation time. Not only is it essential to recharge yourself if you want to be effective at your job, but vacation can also help you organize your life.
Today, we're going to explore the importance of using your PTO (paid time off) and learn some tips for actually enjoying your days OOO (out of the office) without feeling shame or guilt.
Why Employers Give Paid Time Off
I share more of this in my whitepaper, "Considerations For Working Women and Stress". Whether you travel to a distant land or simply use the opportunity to better organize your life, you’re entitled to time off. It's typically part of your compensation package, and for good reason. Companies intentionally grant employees PTO to prevent employee burnout. Good organizations don’t want to lose hard workers, so they allow people to take much-needed breaks. After all, time is the most precious gift one can receive.
Many people struggle to truly unwind during a vacation. We find ourselves worrying about what's going on at work or just carrying residual stress from our last day in the office. Here are some tips to make the most of your next getaway or staycation:
Plan in Advance As Much As Possible
When on vacation, I turn off my phone and make an extra effort to appreciate my surroundings. After all, work will still be there when I get back!
To make sure I can truly relax, I plan most of the “big stuff” in advance (i.e., flights, trains, hotels, excursions). I still leave room for spontaneity, but knowing where I'm sleeping or that I have my high-priority activities booked in advance allows me to stress less and enjoy my getaway more. Remember, the point is to recharge yourself, not to replace work stress with vacation stress.
Communicate With Colleagues Ahead of Time
Before leaving for your big getaway, communicate clearly with your colleagues about how long you'll be out of the office. Set firm boundaries when it comes to if/when you'll be able to answer calls and emails while you're away. If you don't actually disconnect, what's the point of using your PTO? Everyone deserves a chance to unplug.
As valuable as you are as an employee, we’re all replaceable. The weight of the world isn’t on your shoulders, but telling your coworkers what to expect while you're gone will help you stress less and enjoy your stress-free vacation more.
Don't fret about telling workaholic colleagues you're taking time off. It's your right to do so and who knows? Maybe you taking time for yourself will inspire them to do the same.
Pro Tip: Consider including a note in your away message asking coworkers and clients to hold off on emailing you until you're back at work. Let them know that you're going to delete any emails you receive while you're on vacation (whether or not you actually do so is up to you). This prevents hundreds of emails from piling up in your inbox.
Work From Home When You Can
When working at my “9-5” job, I realized I was expected to work late nights and weekends from my laptop. It made me wonder if I was expected to log in whenever I was needed, why couldn’t I then work from home, too?
Unfortunately, working from home isn’t an option for all jobs, but it is for many. Instead of using an entire personal day to go to the doctor’s office or wait for a new mattress to be delivered, ask your boss if you can work remotely.
Even if you’re able to negotiate 1 day at home per month, that’s an extra 12 days in a year where you can take time for yourself without missing an entire day of work.
Are you seeking ways you can take more empowered action as an employee during your day-to-day life?
Schedule a complimentary breakthrough call with me to learn how you can overcome current stress triggers, be more productive, AND have more energy and joy.