It’s July and time to take a break.
Here are seven smart reasons getting away from the office will make you better, including links to two thought-provoking perspectives about leaving the workplace behind.
- Rate your systems. You may not be headed to a desert island, but if communication with your office was limited, what five metrics would instantly indicate your organization’s performance? Before departing for your holiday, confirm that your leaders agree on the same five metrics. Then ask, Do we have reliable, established systems to measure the things that are most important to us? If not, get to work. If your systems are providing reliable data, congratulations and happy trails.
- Reward those you trust. Your company’s value is directly proportional to your ability and willingness to let go. Patrick Ungashick’s Dance in the End Zone lists seven tests for a company’s dependence on the top executive. Hint: Too much dependence is unhealthy. One of these tests is whether leaders are able to take off two weeks and unplug from the office. Think of your time away as two gifts in one: the first gift is to yourself; the second is to your key execs who should be eager to demonstrate they can handle more responsibility.
- Reconnect with life outside the workplace. All work and no play makes Jack and Jill one-dimensional people. Use your time away from the office to enjoy things you’ve been putting off. Reconnect with loved ones. Re-engage with friends you’ve not seen in a while. Volunteer for a cause you’re passionate about.
- Restore + Recharge. Most leaders I know say workplace stress doesn’t start evaporating until the second or third day away. Weekends can help us recharge a little, but weekends are often filled with tasks left over from the work week. Give your body and brain a break. Catch up on sleep. Get some fresh air. Exercise your body to recharge your brain. A refreshed brain will help you make better decisions upon your return.
- Rethink your routine. Changing your schedule stimulates your brain and helps you access new ways of thinking. Take the trip you’ve always said you wanted. Travel reaffirms that people are people wherever you go. And exposure to new cultures helps you broaden your experience and perspective, enhancing your value to your team. Sometimes, however, altering your routine places you smack in the middle of another one, as this New York Times article notes about photographing our vacation memories.
- Reflect. Humans are the only animal on the planet capable of reflection. Yet schedules filled with urgent activity can hinder reflection. Time away from the hustle and bustle of work provides a rare opportunity to slow down, unwind and get in touch with ourselves. A relaxed brain invites us to reflect on larger, more purposeful matters.
- Raise the bar on productivity. If the first six reasons haven’t convinced you to take a break from the office, then consider this: Your most productive day at work is the day before you leave for an extended trip. You’re ruthlessly focused on your most important priorities. You’re just as focused on dismissing items that don’t merit your valuable time. You minimize idle chit-chat and get down to business. So schedule a break from work to get those final items checked off your list.
Enjoy your time away from the workplace. You and your organization will both benefit.