Summer: the season of sun-kissed skin, family picnics, and well-deserved vacation time.
It’s a time to replenish our minds, recharge our bodies, and recognize the hard work we accomplished over the last six or seven months. On vacation, we disconnect from our jobs, content with the fact that the office will function just fine without us. We ignore our email inboxes, shut down our laptops, and escape the daily grind.
Except, that’s a load of bologna, a falsified fantasy one can only dream of fulfilling. Nobody goes on vacation anymore. Nobody takes time away for personal enjoyment. Nobody relaxes just for the sake of relaxing. And if we do, we’re distracted by digital devices and work obligations that get in the way of that margarita on the beach or that excursion in the mountains or that hiking trip with the kids.
Vacation is an underutilized, tech-saturated form of relaxation. 40% of American workers leave PTO days untouched and, on average, only 11 of our allotted 15 days get used throughout the year*. Even worse, 44% of employed adults check their work messages at least once a day while they’re on “vacation”**.
It’s no wonder we’re so stressed out – we don’t know how to relax anymore.
So what’s the solution? How do we fix this gloomy epidemic? How do we adjust our mindset into accepting the fact that taking a few days off to replenish our mind is, dare I say it, okay?
We’re hard workers at Gemba, we’re creative thinkers, we collaborate together on a daily basis, and we deliver products that exceed expectations. But we also know how to unwind and take care of our mind, body, and soul. Here are a few of our tips on how you, diligent worker, can go on vacation and enjoy it to the fullest.
Plan ahead. If you’re taking a weeklong trip, good for you! Do yourself a favor and crank out a couple assignments ahead of time so you’re not sitting on the beach agonizing over that report you didn’t finish. Every part of your vacation will be enhanced if work is the last thing on your mind. Especially that mystical thing call sleep.
Communicate with your coworkers. A couple weeks before you take off, check in with your boss and desk buddies to see if you can take care of anything for them. It’s the courteous thing to do, and your coworkers will appreciate your willingness to help.
Turn off email alerts on your phone. I understand this might frighten you. There’s a chance it’ll make you anxious, sweaty, or sick to your stomach. If this is the case, you have issues, and it’s probably a requirement that you get out of town and go somewhere tropical where there are adult beverages and beaches and maybe hammocks. The office will not crumble without you. Your email inbox will not implode from your absence. Life will go on, and the more you can genuinely enjoy your time away from work, the better off your life and the lives around you will be.
Do NOT pack your laptop or whatever technological device you use to conduct work assignments. Leave that thing at the office. According to a survey conducted by Alamo Rent-a-Car, a startling 35% of millennials admit to working each day while on vacation. Don’t be a part of this depressing statistic! Eliminate the chances of doing work by leaving work at home. It’s that simple.
Soak it all in. Whether you’re traveling with family, meeting up with friends, or taking a solo trek across the country, time away from the office is valuable, necessary, and meant to be cherished. Take pictures, go hiking, see the sites, laugh till your side hurts, drink the wine, sit and be still, read books, eat like a king, and savor every single moment – your wellbeing, your sanity, and your life depends on it.
*Statistic courtesy of Travel Effect, 2016
**Statistic courtesy of Harris Interactive study on behalf of American Psychological Association