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Why Companies Want Employees to Take Their Vacations

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It's the height of summer and everyone is either on vacation, planning for vacation, or wishing they could go on vacation. However, many employees may be reluctant to take time off with the uncertain economy. Messages they receive from their managers about taking a vacation may empower them to feel it's permissible to request time off.

So what's in it for your company to encourage employees to take some vacation time?

Recently, CNN (May, 2011)  published an article entitled "Why Your Brain Needs Vacations" based on the research, among others, of Adam Galinsky of Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, and William Maddux of the business school of INSEAD. In the article, writer Elizabeth Landau points out that a number of subtle changes occur to your brain when it is unplugged and on vacation which are greatly advantageous.  

While on vacation, there is a detachment from the familiar and the rote. The effect is even greater if you travel abroad to encounter a new language and culture. There are extraordinary benefits to the individual and those can return dividends to the company.

  • Gaining new perspectives in everyday life, especially if the vacation is not at home, as you see things from a detached, outsider's perspective.
  • If you completely unplug from work on vacation, and seek a new environment, many people report having epiphanies, according to the article.
  • Traveling abroad increases your creative thinking as you must incorporate cultural expectations and rules in new situations.
  • In research, Maddux and Galinsky found that traveling abroad gives you a more nuanced understanding of yourself as well as a better sense of who you are. This is particularly the case when you truly immerse yourself in the culture.
  • To gain some of these benefits when not on vacation, use mindfulness techniques to focus on daily interactions and new things you see and learn.

So while working long days and pushing deadlines may be a part of worklife, including vacations, and encouraging those for your employees may also help your company's bottom line.

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/obvio171 / CC BY-SA 2.0

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dr. Joni Prince published on July 20, 2011 10:27 AM.

Don’t Try Too Hard To Be Happy was the previous entry in this blog.

Your Employee’s Maternity Leave is Over. Now What? is the next entry in this blog.

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