By Larry Johnson, Adept Solutions CEO
I remember the McDonald's jingle that goes, "You deserve a break today, so get up and get away to Mc Donalds." I also remember the years I wouldn't take a break from work or use all of my vacation time—and felt proud of it.
I told myself I am a great employee and justified my reticence to take time off. But in reality, I was punishing my family and my employer in this equation. Not taking breaks or vacations is a disservice to our health, productivity, and attitude.
Missed Vacations Are Common
According to the U.S. Travel Association, 55% of employees did not use their full vacation days last year. That totals over 760 million days not taken, and nearly half of those did not roll over to the new year. This is time that doesn't come back.
If a full-fledged vacation is outside your budget, consider taking a day trip to the Sierra Nevada, Bay Area, the Pacific Ocean, Yosemite, or a tasting trip to the Napa Valley. Make sure everyone in your organization is getting the breaks they deserve and need.
Vacations are Good for You and Your Business
I use the word 'need' because there's a growing body of research that says taking time off is good for you, and it's good for your work. A 2016 study conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California at Los Angeles found that most Americans preferred more money than more time off. But those who preferred time off showed higher levels of happiness.
A study published by the Harvard Business Review reported that those who took more vacation days experienced better overall health and life satisfaction. "If you take all your vacation days and plan ahead for trips, you will increase your happiness, success rate, and likelihood of promotion, and you'll lower your stress level to boot," the study stated.
Daily Breaks are Important
The same principle applies during the hectic daily work schedule. It is easy to skip breaks. However, breaks are an essential time to relax and be renewed. At Adept Solutions, we have set up a pool table and electronic games in our break room to entice our team to take this time to unwind.
It not just progressive to encourage your team to take a break or find a relaxing place to decompress; it is also practical for your business because your company becomes more productive. Multiple studies have shown an increase in productivity from 6% to 17% if breaks are regularly taken.
Daily Break-Time Ideas
1. Take a walk
5. Listen to music
6. Take a quick nap
8. Talk to friends or coworkers
Part of Your Culture
Make the message of that McDonald's jingle part of your culture. Your employees deserve a break today (see that they take those daily breaks) and encourage them to get up and get away (on those much-needed vacations). The time away from work will be time well spent for your business.