Wellbeing· 6min June 8, 2022
We are not machines. But we do need to unplug, recharge our batteries, and sometimes just switch off. Because of this, taking time off is vital for our own survival – and for the business in which we work.
No one is ever too busy to take time off. But according to a survey carried out by Glassdoor, the average employee takes only 77% of their annual leave. Reasons given included “Fear of falling behind in their work” and “Didn’t trust anyone else to do their job”.
One of the major explanations for this is simply that employees feel too shy to ask for time off. They may sense that it makes them appear lazy, or that they can’t cope with the role.
Vacation guilt is real.
But why should you be taking holiday? The list of reasons is long.
Taking a vacation could save your life. Perhaps an overstatement? The World Health Organisation would disagree. They recently conducted a study and found out that almost 750,000 people worldwide had died in 2016 from heart-related complications due to working long hours. That’s a lot of people.
Enjoying time away from work does not only improve your physical health – it also benefits your mental health. And mental health is as important as physical health. Taking time off will reduce stress levels resulting in less anxiety, depression, and related long-term health problems such as high blood pressure. Moreover, it is likely to decrease the chance of burnout, which in turn causes exhaustion and negative thoughts - if you take some time to rest, you are prone to be more productive when you get back to your day-to-day occupations.
Everyday pressures can lead to tunnel-vision and a mantra of ‘getting the job done, closing out tasks and ticking things off the list’. By taking time off work, we free ourselves of this tension, and give our minds an occasion to recover when we open them up to new paths and different ways of solving problems.
Who hasn’t come up with a great idea on a run, stuck in traffic or while sitting on a train without signal? Sometimes our inspiration stems from stepping back and when we are not at work. Taking holiday means that we fuel our brains with the potential to think creatively and elaborate solutions by letting our ideas flow - a chance to foster our creativity.
These thoughts will also have a prospect to mull and develop while we are on holiday, and perhaps we can take them back with us to try at work! Inevitably, when we take a break from our daily routine, this helps us be more open minded. We are awarded the possibility to experience refreshing things and take on game-changing challenges. Use this time to make contacts and swap ideas. Sometimes holidays can present you with networking and opportunities; you may make friendships that last a lifetime.
Because connections are key. And particularly in remote environments (such as how we operate at Form3). Holiday, by allowing you to return with a fresh perspective, will likely enrich your relationship with your colleagues at work, which in turn improve your wellbeing. Disconnect to reconnect.
The summer holiday season is upon us. And I’m sure many of us have exciting plans to travel, finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel after years of restrictions. As for me, I’m making the most of the 30-day holiday allowance Form3 offers. I’m even considering doing summer hours (which Form3 also offers to all its team) to spend some much-needed extra time soaking up the sun... And our remote working policy at Form3 means I’m also taking a working holiday - which are here to stay. More on this soon.
I’ve actually already used some of my holiday allowance and went to Panama earlier this year. I sat back and relaxed. And I took this picture – it was not at my desk.
Clara is a People Partner at Form3, based in Spain.