By: Beau Peters
Our culture has made it pretty easy to put workaholics on a pedestal. Though almost all American employees earn time off, many fail to take advantage of the time they’ve collected.
But here’s the thing; absolutely everyone needs time away to unwind—and yes, that includes managers. Though managers may have a wealth of responsibilities and employees to take care of, the benefits of taking time off far outweigh the drawbacks. Let’s take a closer look at why managers need to take more time off.
Why Take a Break?
The first—and perhaps most important—reason why managers need to use their vacation time is to avoid burnout. Burnout is an all too common issue among business leaders, and it’s one they really can’t afford. There’s too much at stake and too many people counting on them. They can’t expect to keep grinding on for months on end without their effectiveness, productivity, creativity, and health suffering. In order to continue serving the employees and clients who rely on them, they have to consider their own well-being.
Breaking free from the hustle and bustle of the office also gives managers the opportunity to think and reflect on what they’d like to achieve. This perspective allows them to implement new and better ways to reach important business goals when they do get back to work. Simply put, time off helps to inspire and motivate managers to do better work for both their clients and employees.
Many managers feel as if their team would absolutely crumble if they were away for too long. While in many ways they are indispensable to their employees and organization, this kind of belief system isn’t exactly healthy for any of the players involved. It’s important for managers to recognize that the company won’t fall apart if they’re not around for a few weeks. In fact, it’s more likely that their team will become stronger. Employees will step out of their comfort zones, stretch their skills, grow in confidence, and uncover new potential. And really, that’s one of the best opportunities a manager can give to their staff.
Being a good manager means leading by example. To encourage the kind of work-life balance they’d like to see in their employees, managers first have to exhibit them in their own actions. By not taking regular vacations, leaders demonstrate how little they value time spent away from work — and employees will take note. When both managers and employees fail to take time off, the company suffers. Exhausted and burnt out employees and leaders are rarely as effective those who are relaxed and well rested.
Finally, while workaholics claim that the more time they spend at work, the more money they’ll make, research has shown the opposite to be true. Work martyrs are 79 to 84 percent less likely to receive a raise or bonus than those who take the proper amount of time off. Again, it’s the stress-free and well-rested employees that do the kind of work higher-ups notice and reward.
How to do it Right
If you’re a manager and you’re ready to plan some time off, there are a few things you’ll want to ensure you do in order to make the vacation as beneficial as possible. First and foremost, don’t wait for work to “slow down”—there will never be a perfect time to get away.
Plan far in advance and clearly communicate with your team—let them know how long you plan to be gone, what their responsibilities are while you’re away, and who they can contact if they need assistance. Schedule a time to reconnect with them both individually and collectively when you get back.
It’s not really a vacation if you’re constantly being interrupted. To create a clear distinction between being on vacation and working remotely, keep your technology turned off. If you simply can’t survive without your smartphone set it to only sync personal emails, turn off any work-related app’s notifications, and mark yourself as being unavailable for the duration of your vacation.
Whatever you do, don’t treat your vacation like an extended weekend. That is, don’t fill it with errands, home commitments, or popping into the office for a few hours. You can’t truly relax and recharge if your vacation isn’t being spent on you and you alone.
Giving up control is a scary feeling for most managers, but the benefits are well worth it. Business leaders work hard, and they’re entitled to multiple breaks where they can rest and recuperate. What’s more, their teams deserve a manager who models the positive behaviors and actions the company expects of their employees. This gives them the permission they need to take a vacation when it’s their turn. Remember, truly great leaders invest in themselves and the success of their teams by taking time off.
About the author
Beau Peters is a creative professional with a lifetime of experience in service and care. As a manager, he’s learned a slew of tricks of the trade that he enjoys sharing with others who have the same passion and dedication that he brings to his work.