Business leaders are under consistent pressure in the workplace. This pressure can slowly build if individuals do not proactively work to keep in in check. A stressed leader can make poor decisions or even snap. To continue providing ideal leadership, individuals need to make time for stress relief. Unfortunately, individuals typically work very hard to get to leadership positions and may start to feel like bad things will happen if they abandon their post. One of the issues that business leaders struggle with most is taking time away from the office to rest and recharge. While the prospect of a vacation may in itself create stress, leaders who take time away from the office will see a number of important benefits, including the following:
Reconnecting to personal values
Leaders need to have a close connection to their personal values because these ideals are the foundation of resiliency. To hone these values, people need to have new experiences. Taking time away from the office reminds individuals what is truly important in their lives and helps them reframe their perspective on work and business. When leaders return to the office after vacation, they generally have a renewed sense of drive and clearer aspirations, which in turn helps them motivate their employees to achieve great things. Leaders who do not take time to recharge may begin to feel a sense of disconnection with their personal values, which can lead to poor decisions and actions that take their company on an unintended path.
Setting a positive example for employees
Research has consistently shown that employees who do not take breaks and vacations are actually less productive than those who do. This phenomenon is testament to the fact that people who are burnt out have a lower baseline productivity than those who allow themselves time to breathe and come back to the office recharged. When employees do not see their leaders take vacations, they may push themselves too hard and then burn out, which can increase turnover rates or cause overall productivity to drop. Even when leaders make a point to encourage their workers to take vacations, their actions ultimately speak louder than their words. Leaders also show their employees how to take time off in a responsible manner by providing adequate direction and choosing ideal times to be away.
Encouraging new approaches to old tasks
Frequently, leaders worry that their companies will fall apart if they are not there to hold them together. Ultimately, leaders need to have faith that their employees can indeed handle the workload. However, this faith in personal abilities does not mean that nothing will change when the leader is on vacation. Furthermore, the creativity that employees may bring to everyday processes is not a bad thing. While leaders take time for themselves, company employees may actually find more effective or efficient ways of accomplishing tasks that can further drive the bottom line. In this situation, leaders may actually learn something important from their employees.
Establishing organizational contingency plans
For the most part, leaders will be reachable on vacation in case an emergency arises. However, it is smart to create contingency plans in case there is a lapse in contact time or the situation is truly emergent and requires immediate action. The practice of thinking through contingency plans and preparing for the prospect of emergency, even if unlikely, helps leaders act more consistently and confidently should something happen in the future. In other words, taking the time to think about appropriate and effective reactions to an emergency now means that leaders are better prepared to handle these situations down the road.
Experiencing new cultures and mindsets
Many business leaders overlook the value inherent in traveling. While vacations are indeed a chance to recharge emotionally and mentally—not to mention reconnect with friends and family members—they are also a chance to gain some new experiences. Whether people travel to a new part of the nation or to a new country altogether, they will necessarily encounter unfamiliar traditions, ideas, and thoughts that can stimulate their own creativity. These ideas can provide unique and creative approaches to problems in the workplace. Leaders should think critically about the experiences they have during vacation and the lessons they can take back to the office after their time away.
Reinforcing personal value in the workplace
While the likelihood of major issues arising at the office during a leader’s vacation is probably small, this does not mean that the individual will not be missed. When individuals take time away from the office, their colleagues and subordinates get a clearer sense of the contributions that they make to the workflow and appreciate when they return and processes go back to normal. This newfound appreciation can improve relationships in the office. Teams can start to take each other for granted even when they have the best intentions. Taking time away from the office resets relationships in a positive manner.