Your leadership in a fast-paced, high-pressure environment has set a very high bar with your employees. Your drive to excel and your strong work ethic are an inspiration.
That’s why you need to make sure you unplug and take a real vacation.
Yep, you read that right. You must encourage your employees to take their vacation time by first taking a real vacation yourself. This will demonstrate that vacations are good for leaders, good for employees and good for business.
It’s been estimated that more than half of all Americans don’t take all their vacation time each year and that many people who do take vacation time do some amount of work while they’re out of the office. And at some companies, it’s a badge of honor to take as little time off as possible.
Yet the benefits of taking a break and stepping away from work are indisputable and two-fold: You return feeling renewed, with the energy to dive into new projects. Your employees drive your success, so you must encourage them to take time to recharge, to balance the rigors of their work and to take steps to promote their own well-being. In other words, you’ve got to show them how it is done.
• Make it a priority. Encourage employees to use their vacation time, either by taking a trip or a staycation. Let them know when you plan to take a week of unplugged rest. Make it a goal for each employee to truly relax and unplug — no calls, no e-mails. Make sure each employee knows how much time they have to take off, how much time they can carry over into a new year and how much they need to use up before the end of each year.
• Plan for absences. Make sure you discuss who will be accountable in your absence or the absence of anyone else taking a vacation. The goal is to make it possible for someone to take a vacation without taking calls, answering e-mails and doing work while they are out of the office. There also should not be a huge pile of makeup work and crises to sort out when you or they return. Help employees ease back in to their work after a week or more off.
• Just do it. Say you’ll disappear and disconnect and then disappear and disconnect. They’re on their own — and they will survive because you have people to handle your job while you’re out of the office. Tell them so. The goal is to set a clear example that vacation is important — and you shouldn’t work during one. Here’s to a great vacation!