August 14, 2016

Vacations are good business

The sun caressing your face, grains of sand between the pages of the book, no one ringing you, the seaweed entwining your ankles, endless photos of food to share on WhatsApp groups, oh, an ice cream stain! Fancy it, right? Well, this can increase your chances of getting a raise or a promotion.

Most believe that being at work for long hours -the famous face-to-face- or giving up our vacations will make our professional career more successful and our boss will see it as something positive, an example of fidelity. But surprise! New research confirms the opposite.

The project “Project: Time off” investigates how holidays benefit both companies and their employees. So why are there still people who don't enjoy their vacations? According to project manager Gary Oster, employees who don't take a breather do so because they believe their superiors will see it as negative. But according to research also led by the U.S. Travel Association, managers associate personal happiness with productivity. Most understand that happier employees are more productive.

In The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor describes research showing that when the brain thinks positively, productivity improves by 31%, sales increase by 37% and creativity and income can triple.

But going on vacation not only has benefits for our work, but also for our health, the benefits of those days off last several weeks and even months later. Improves sleep, lowers blood pressure, lowers blood glucose level and what to say about the ability to recover from stress!
To be truly engaged in our work, our brains need regular breaks, thus gaining a fresher, more energetic outlook.

If we talk about companies that decide to break their employees' vacations to make them go to the office on Christmas Day or on a Sunday, then we open a Pandora's box of dire repercussions. It affects the mood of the employee -and therefore the efficiency in their tasks and their customer service- but also the image of the company.
One recent example, Casey St. Clair, an employee at the Target department store chain, was so upset with the decision by superiors to open stores at 8 p.m. On Thanksgiving, she created a petition " Save Thanksgiving ". The initiative got 378,399 signatures. That's almost 400,000 customers or potential customers who are questioning Target's corporate values.

A company that does not let its staff rest triggers general malaise. Companies leave a lot of money on the table, customers receive poor service, and employees disassociate themselves from their company. As Margarita Álvarez, the true standard bearer of happiness at work, reminds us in this interview: "The only secret is to really care about people".

In addition, we must take into account that employees who are dedicated to customer service make up a large segment of society, so society also ends up suffering. A study conducted in the 2000s found that Walmart employees in California spent $86 million on public health care as a result of stress and other occupational illnesses. Year! Therefore, taxpayers also suffer, even if they are not Walmart consumers.
Buyers can make the decision to only go to companies that treat their employees better, since they will treat them much better.

But be careful! For a vacation to have a positive impact on your happiness, you must plan it in advance, prepare your colleagues so that your absence at work is not so noticeable, leave your city -and the further away the better- , have an expert to guide you to your destination and have all the details well fixed before traveling. In fact, raise your hand if you don't enjoy planning the trip nearly as much as the trip itself!

You may think that it is not so common for people not to take their vacations and it is true, but how many truly enjoy them? How many do not live waiting for a phone call or email?
Going on vacation takes us away from our daily tasks at work and invites us to let our creativity flow again, giving us the opportunity to see ourselves by stopping to meditate on what we have been doing and getting our own feedback.

Relaxing on a sun lounger, getting lost in the old part of a city or occupying our friends' phone memory with our selfies; Whatever our way of enjoying a vacation, we can take advantage of the opportunity to think a little more about ourselves, review our trajectory, our goals achieved and those we have in our sights, face our professional development, renew our inspiration, and return to our company recharged, with a bigger smile and a gleaming personal brand. What would have happened to the great thinkers of history if they had not had free hours for reflection?

The excuse that we have too much work to take vacations is no longer valid. Our tasks at work will always be endless, but our productivity is limited. In addition, vacations can be counted as preventive medicine.

If you don't do it for the company, do it for yourself.