Time Off Should Be Just That - Penn-Mar

Time Off Should Be Just That

Posted on September 1, 2022

By Gregory T. Miller, President and Chief Executive Officer, Penn-Mar Human Services | Chief Executive Officer, Penn-Mar Foundation
Greg Miller

Gregory Miller
President/CEO Penn-Mar Human Services

Have you noticed there are no “snow days” anymore?

Come to think of it, it’s even getting harder to completely disconnect from work when you’re on a scheduled vacation.

I just came back from one of those family vacations where I found myself responding to daily calls and important issues. It really impressed on me why it’s so necessary to detach if you want to reap all the benefits a respite from work life provides.

Yet according to Forbes magazine, nearly 70% of us work on vacation and have a hard time detaching.

Americans take an average of 14 days off per year (our European counterparts take 24). In addition, 91% of Americans report that their workload prevented them from taking the time off they needed.

Blame it on the pressures of our work culture and the convenience and availability of technology.

A study by Passportphoto Online found that 68% of respondents said the use of their smartphone for work while traveling or on vacation made it tough to recharge or relax. People feel they need to “check in” because of expectations at work and the pressures to respond.

Obviously, the need to stay connected at work will vary for different people with different levels of responsibility.

Our DSPs and Program Managers are often managing crisis on a daily basis. They put in many extra hours so the need for time away to recharge becomes even more important for them. That’s where the concept of team collaboration becomes so powerful; colleagues can step in and manage while co-workers are away.

But many jobs are more portable and their responsibilities have a way of traveling with us. We need to assess what our job priorities are and take care of them before going away or judiciously while on vacation. Not every “emergency” is really an emergency.

If you’re looking for an excuse to work, you’ll find it. But responding to all the stimulus that comes into your brain every second of every day is the surest way to lose the joy of relaxation.

Taking time off to clear your head is critical to your wellbeing, job satisfaction and productivity. Research shows it can:
– Reduce stress and help you think better by enhancing mental and emotional health.
– Improve your personal relationships by investing time with family and friends.
– Reduce neurological chemicals that can impact negatively on your physical wellness.
– Expand your perspective, helping you to be more creative and better at solving problems.
– Reduce your intensity and make you a more positive colleague when you return to work.

Sometimes the consistency of our work schedules is easier to manage than a free form vacation. But hopefully you — and I — will take some of this advice to heart and make our next vacation a truly relaxing getaway.

And don’t worry, your work will be waiting for you when you return refreshed and rearing to go.

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