Five reasons why vacations are necessary for maintaining healthy, happy and motivated employees and the one reason you should do it, the bottom line.
By Gil Koren
- Stress used to be a good thing meant initially to help keep us safe. Stress releases hormones such as epinephrine and cortisol bringing on the fight or flight response that was necessary for early man. It was a good thing when the body tightened up from within, sending a signal to the brain to make a quick judgement to either put up the fists or turn and run. The same hormones now cause chronic stress which is harmful and can be destructive to the body. Time away from work (usually a significant cause of stress, no matter how much we try and change that). Can provide a much-needed break from the constant high levels of these hormones and give the body a chance to repair some of the damage.
- One of the major contributing factors of Heart Disease and high blood pressure is stress. Long-term studies have found that vacations can reduce the risk of heart disease or heart attack. Regular holidays have been proven to reduce the chances of dying from a heart attack by 35% in men and 50% for women.
- Focus, continuous work without breaks or vacations can bring about feelings of distraction, lack of focus and problems concentrating. Once again the simple answer is time off, vacationing. Studies have found three-quarters of people that vacation regularly feel more energised and ready to tackle the task their job requires of them. Neuroscience has found that chronic exposure to stress hormones contributing to depression and anxiety can alter brain structure. Relaxation is much needed to give the brain and body time to heal and mend itself.
- Productivity seems counter intuitive, but studies have proven that vacations motivate and help workers relax, which in turn increases productivity when at work. Liberal vacation policies improve quality of life for employees, translating into increased work quality. Employees reported feeling more creative after returning from vacations, and over 70% reported feeling more satisfied with their jobs.
- Better Sleep. Disrupted sleep and restless nights are common complaints in high achieving individuals, just because we have too much on the mind. Too much internal conversation, too much to remember for tomorrow and also too much chatter affects sleep. A lack of sleep leads to less us, decreased alertness, impaired memory, higher risk of accidents and a general decrease in quality of life. Research has proven that a vacation, sleeping in a different bed, different sheets, without thoughts of whether or not that email has been sent or the dryer was emptied out. Can disrupt sleep patterns forcing them to reset, sometimes as quickly as two or three nights.
Bottom Line. It might be hard to imagine, but affording your employees the opportunity to vacation and relax properly, actually helps the company even more in the long run. 53% of Canadians opted for a “staycation” in 2017, not because binge watching Netflix or sanding the deck in the backyard is a more alluring option than laying on a sunny beach in Mexico or zip lining the rain forests of Costa Rica. But because 75% of those deciding to “staycation” could not afford to vacation. It would be in any companies best interest to help its employees in reducing stress and heart disease, improve focus, and productivity. Aren’t these the reasons companies are spending more and more on wellness programs and other HR initiatives. Vacations should not be considered a luxury, but a necessity in growing any business, improving any corporate culture, in turn, fuelling motivation, innovation, and productivity.