The Importance of Vacation
So what's your vacation got to do with the bottom line? Everything, say industrial psychologists, but that fact doesn't seem to have penetrated very well in corporate America. The majority of people still take work with them on vacation in one form or another, and more than 25 percent of corporate people don't take any absolute downtime at all. So what's the problem?
Vacation Is as Important as Sleep
It's a little like sleep deprivation, according to physicians and psychotherapists. Just as lack of sleep impedes your ability to think clearly and act decisively, lack of playtime keeps you from taking in information effectively and seeing the totality of a situation. Lack of sleep and play both have a negative impact on your reflex time, general resilience and ability to ward off infection. Recreation deprivation also makes you cranky, and often more than a little critical of the people in your organization who do have the good sense to take care of themselves.
Every time I have clients who tell me their direct reports are slacking off, I respond with the question, "When did you have your last vacation?" Almost always, the answer is some variation of, "Well, I don't really do vacations that are about relaxing and rejuvenating. There's just too much to get done."
You're Hurting More Than Yourself
The bitter irony is that the vacation-deprived usually think they're doing everybody a favor by continuing to work themselves to the brink of exhaustion. But the reality is that they're costing everyone -- their coworkers, their direct reports, their organizations, their families and themselves. Work addiction is an insidious thing. Like other addictions, you usually have to bottom out before you can summon the courage to change.