There’s no denying it, we’re living through, well, interesting times. While traveling isn’t something everyone is comfortable with right now, taking time off should be. Our bodies are under more stress than normal as we navigate the ever-changing information on keeping our families safe through a global pandemic. Plus, our normal lives haven’t stopped. Work is still going. Some parents are forced to homeschool on top of it. Families still need to be tended. Finding time to unplug, destress and maintain balance is critical if your team is planning on making it through 2020 without major burn out. Encouraging employees to utilize their paid time off is good for everyone.
If you equate time off with vacations away from home, it’s hard to realistically understand how you’d use it. You may not be comfortable hopping on a plane, or driving across country at the moment. However, the opposite isn’t a better alternative: working non-stop for months on end will leave you feeling sluggish, uninspired and less impactful at your job.
Taking paid time off is not only good for your mental health right now with its heavy load, it’s good for your company’s productivity. Plus, things like taking time off to garden, finally get through that stack of books on your bed stand or to perfect your sourdough bread making skills count just as much as taking a grand vacation. The bottom line is you need time away from work.
People in work environments (whether remote or in person) often look to leaders to model their behavior after. When a leader is driven, motivated and passionate, oftentimes they attract team members who are the same. When a leader is overworked, tired and burning the midnight oil, their employees may feel the need to do the same, too.
By creating a pro-vacation environment as a leader, where you go public about taking time off and taking it in long stretches, will allow employees to see it as an option for themselves, too.
Here’s a few examples of leaders openly speaking about their time off practices that may get you more comfortable with not only taking time, but encouraging your team to do the same through your actions.
Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook
Sheryl Sandberg has been a force when it comes to having women go after executive roles in corporations. Sandberg is not only the COO of Facebook, but she’s also a published author with NYT’s Best seller, Lean In.
Sandberg claims the only way she was able to juggle the high-powered COO role, her personal life as a widow with two children, and writing books is that she uses every day of her PTO each year, no excuses.
Richard Branson, Founder, The Virgin Group
Richard Branson is anything but boring. And with that incredible energy, comes the need to get away from the desk. He’s known for taking long periods away from work to travel the world or just relax at home.
“Freed from the daily stresses of my working life, I find that I am more likely to have new insights into old problems and other flashes of inspiration,” Branson said in a recent CNBC interview.
He believes in vacation so much so, he was one of the very first companies to create an unlimited paid time off policy. However, before you think about creating one of those in your own company, you may want to read our thoughts about it here.
Jeff Weiner, Founder, LinkedIn
Perhaps taking long periods away from work isn’t your thing. Microburst of time to do nothing can give you a bit of perspective, too.
Take for example, Jeff Weiner, the founder of LinkedIn, who schedules 90 minutes every day to be “unstructured.” Not to go to lunch, or check up on email, or clean his office. Ninety minutes just to think and unwind. Sounds pretty great, doesn’t it? He calls it the power of nothing.
Other notable leaders such as Warby Parker’s co-founders, Neil Blumenthal and Dave Gilboa, have adopted the same practice.
Ariana Huffington, Founder, HuffingtonPost.com
If anyone understands the need for breaks, it’s Ariana Huffington. Huffington’s wake-up call came after she was at home on the phone and responding to emails when she collapsed. She woke up in a pool of blood with a cut over her eye and a broken cheekbone.
The reason for her fall? Exhaustion. Working too hard can go much beyond mental burn out. It can affect your body so much so that it quite literally shuts down.
Huffington’s newest company, Thrive Global, now takes vacation extremely seriously. SO much so that they have implemented a computer program that auto-deletes every email an employee receives on vacation. This allows employees to be fully-present when away from work, so they can be fully present at work.
Ready to take some time off? Log into your Kin account now to get it booked.