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Vacations and Time Off: Everyone Needs to Recharge

Times have certainly changed over the past few decades. Some of us remember the era when we had a thriving economy with large work teams in place to handle all aspects of the tasks and projects assigned with enough hours in the day to get our jobs done. Most managers could handle all their responsibilities with little or no overtime, paid or unpaid. We welcomed vacations and time away from the office knowing that we would be able to catch up on the first day back and continue our work week with little or no stress. Sadly, those days are long gone.

Nathaly Pinchuk,
Executive Director
We’ve now arrived at the point when many of us consider giving up holidays or time off in fear of what awaits us upon our return. I was there too, but I have realized the benefits of vacations and time off- most importantly to recharge the batteries. Everyone can use a boost to productivity and new perspective on things. You can’t get that working 18 hours a day without a break!

I remember the “good old days” when people spent extensive time during the work day planning a holiday, discussing options with colleagues and researching ideas even without Internet. They would then come home and discuss with families during dinner. Who does that now? We barely have enough time to grab a coffee or bite for lunch without being bombarded with work-related matters. Most of us struggle to find a few hours in the late evening or early morning to formulate our plans and then find time to discuss them with our families or travelling companions.

Then, we finally have our long awaited vacations away or time off at home and panic to think of what awaits us on our return. Experts tell us to leave the Blackberry, laptop, ThinkPad and cell phones at home and “disconnect”. Are those folks going to do our jobs while we are away and when we get back?

The best advice is to adapt time off to suit your style and personality. Some people who are considered workaholics have come to terms with that and adapt time off accordingly. Whether it’s time off in town, away at a cottage or on a road trip or actual holiday out of country, they take their trusted laptop and check on emails daily or every few days. Others use their cell phones or Blackberry. Trust colleagues to do their jobs and cover for you as required. When they return to work, they only have regular mail and voicemail to contend with as they have a pretty good handle on what is to be done with emails.

Colleagues can understand that they can reach you in case of emergency. People can call you crazy for doing emails while on vacation, but I don’t see that as a crime. It’s actually a benefit.

There are certain quiet times of the day when you need a break from the fun and sun when most have an afternoon or pre-dinner “siesta”. It’s peaceful and logging in for emails is not such a hardship. You also keep in touch with friends and family and do everything within a short amount of dedicated time.

Given the fact that we receive 200 to 300 emails daily not including junk mail, would some people be really calm, comfortable and able to unwind waiting an entire week to check them and respond? I don’t think so and I may not be alone.

You should become an advocate of the importance of taking time off and away from the office. Schedule the time carefully. Even if you don’t take two or three consecutive weeks off in one shot, realize the importance of booking the odd day off as a long weekend throughout the year even during harsh winter months.

Make the most of it and reap benefits of well deserved time off and holidays. You can adapt the time away to best suit your own individual needs and personality. Everyone needs time to recharge and refresh. Remember, you can’t take it with you!


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