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“What I did on my summer vacation!”…Oops!

September 7, 2012

With the passing of Labor Day 2012, we celebrate the traditional end of summer. School’s around the country are all back in session. For workers there is a return to focus on the work at hand. Our demeanor turns more serious replacing the lightheartedness of warm and lazy summer days, weekends at the lake or shore, and memorable time with extended family and friends. As we make this transition, we often take time to briefly reflect back on what we are leaving behind. It is not unusual that on returning to school, a first assignment is to write an essay entitled: “What I did on my summer vacation!”

In reminiscing about those school days when I would put pen to paper and tried to capture the memories of a summer too soon past, I decided to revisit that activity one more time in this blog post. I would write about what I did on my summer vacation.

This time I didn’t pick up a pen, but booted up the computer and launched the word processing software. I was actually feeling a little kid-like again as I typed the title of the essay – “What I did on my summer vacation!” as I prepared to share my fun with you. And then it happened…actually nothing happened. It quickly became apparent that I didn’t have anything to write about because I hadn’t taken a summer vacation! There was a four day weekend somewhere in June, but that was the extent of my time off. Oops!

This dilemma got me to wondering about how many others may not be taking vacation time. What I found was enlightening. The United States is a leader in employees suffering from vacation deprivation!

A study released last year by the Families and Work Institute found that American workers have on average 16.6 paid vacation days but that more than one-third of employees (36 percent) did not plan to use their full vacation. And among those that do take vacation, many do not fully disconnect. They take the cell phone, the iPad, the computer and the Blackberry with them. Interesting, but is it good or bad?

It seems that there is overwhelming agreement that vacations are a good thing for business. According to clinical psychologist Francine Lederer “The impact that taking a vacation has on one’s mental health is profound…Most people have better life perspective and are more motivated to achieve their goals after a vacation.” I must admit I could use a refresh.

But why don’t we take vacations? A @CNNMoney report finds that many feel they have too much work and if they’re gone for extended periods it won’t get done. Still others cited fear of being seen as unproductive in an unstable job market. And then there are those that simply can’t financially afford a vacation.

The reasons we find for not taking a needed break are many. The repercussions can be significant – affecting our health, as well as, our productivity and quality of our work. The fact is our employers benefit when we take advantage of vacation. And it is for this reason that I am taking a much needed vacation.

Kronos, this isn’t really about me…I’m doing this for you!

You may want to consider giving your employer the same gift as I’m giving Kronos – take your vacation time and encourage your staff to do the same! We’ll all be happier and more productive…

Adios Amigos! I’m riding off into the sunset for a few days…carry on without me!

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