Go Ahead, Take a Vacation!

by Carey Klosterman on May 7, 2018

in Performance Management,Reflection,Rerun Classic

Vacation in my backyard

Now that vacation season is just around the corner, I thought I would revisit a past blog article and repost it as the reminder is likely needed!

According to the annual 2017 Alamo Family Vacation Survey, nearly half of American workers feel guilty when planning or taking a vacation, with an equivalent amount not using the vacation time they are given. Respondents claim they feel “shamed” by other co-workers who make them feel guilty for taking time off.

When I originally wrote this article, I reported about a ski vacation I was on with my family when my son broke his arm. Thankfully I don’t have quite as gruesome of a tale, yet interestingly the following year on another ski vacation, my other son lost control and ran into a tree, hurt his arm (not broke) and was transported by ski patrol to the med station. Yikes! Not sure skiing is the best vacation destination for my family. Maybe next year we can go somewhere sunny and tropical, like Cascade’s very own Jenna Reed who is currently ON vacation in sunny Hawaii spending well deserved time off with her family! Aloha Jenna!

Now . . . back to work!

Interestingly the study conducted by Alamo reports that “vacation shaming” is more prevalent among millennials. Findings report that these feelings of guilt for planning and taking a vacation is up nearly 10% (68 % vs. 59% percent in the 2016 study), with 40% (up from 17% in 2016) reporting that the shaming would keep them from actually planning or going on vacation. However, millennials also report that they are more likely than other generations to shame their own co-workers, up nearly 20% from the 2016 study. The study also indicates that only 1 in 5 employees will actually use their vacation time to get away for vacation as opposed to staying home and running errands, etc. (AKA the “staycation”).

Findings in a related article, “The State of American Vacation: How Vacation Became a Casualty of our Work Culture” conducted by Project: Time Off, which is an organization that studies American vacation trends, report that simply planning for a vacation increases vacation time used, significantly improving relationships at home and lowering stress. The study also reports that those who plan for vacation and decide ahead of time how “connected” they choose to be will have a much more successful vacation aimed at doing what it is intended to do: regroup, refresh and relax!

I understand the premise for sure, but because of where I work, I never feel guilty about taking a day off, or feel “shamed” in any way. In fact, I work with an amazingly supportive team who are always willing to help and pick up the slack when/if needed. That being said, we are provided with many flexible arrangements to either flex our schedules, work from home or coffeehouse (if that’s what we prefer). Because of this flexibility, I don’t feel guilty about working some while on vacation. I am extremely engaged and love my job, so to me, this doesn’t feel like work. Don’t get me wrong, I plan to take full advantage of the vacation time I have this summer, yet during times like Spring Break, because of the flexibility I have during my normal schedule, I still get the “recharge” I need, while catching up on a few things and staying in the loop.

Since my original article, I do believe that my co-workers (and myself for that matter) have taken to truly disconnecting while on vacation. We have all gotten pretty creative with our out-of-office messages letting those we work with know what we are doing, and that we are doing our best to take some time away!

Be mindful of that fact that we all benefit from fully taking advantage of the time off we are provided and disconnect as much as possible, not only for ourselves but for the benefit of our organization as well.

Let me sign off with one of my favorite out-of-office messages from Cascade’s very own Angela Bergerson:

“Hey, fellow Cascadian! I’m currently out of the office for Portland WizardWorld ComicCon! I’ll reappear back in the office Tuesday with what my hairdresser describes as ‘peacock’ colored hair and (hopefully) Jason Momoa’s autograph.”

Happy Vacationing!

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