I’ve got three sons, for years we would plan and save to take a big annual vacation with our kids. Places like Disney, and national monuments, and beaches. All the work to get ready for it, all the excitement, all the letdown! I should have saved all of that money for when they were older and then just left them at home to fend for themselves while my wife and I spend three weeks in Hawaii!
Let’s face it, taking a vacation with three kids is not a vacation. There should be a different name for taking a vacation with three kids. It doesn’t matter where you go with three kids, it’s not relaxing, in fact, it is the opposite of relaxing. If you go on vacation with kids coming back to work is the real vacation. We all know it, but no one wants to admit it because you just burned valuable days off and a giant pile of cash.
This concept of vacation is very personal to your employees. It has a huge impact to help your employees keep a good balance in their lives. That’s why I was excited to read about some research being done to determine the what is the perfect amount of time on a vacation to get to an ideal state of relaxation. From the WSJ:
“In a study of 54 people vacationing for an average of 23 days, Dr. de Bloom and co-researchers found that measures of health and wellness improved during vacation compared with baseline, peaking at the eighth day before gradually declining.
“It could be that eight days is the ideal to fully gain the benefits of a holiday,” said Dr. de Bloom. The study was published in 2013 in the Journal of Happiness Studies.
Laura Beatrix Newmark, of New York, has tried getaways of different durations. Her ideal vacation: nine days. “You really feel like you can get into a different zone and then when you come back you feel like you’re in a different mindset,” said the 38-year-old entrepreneur and mother of two young children.”
Eight days. Seems about right. You take off on a Friday after work, maybe sneak out a little early. You then have Saturday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Eight days. The problem is that first day never seems like a vacation as you get settled in and try to unwind and that last Saturday you need to start packing and getting stuff together because you leave on Sunday. That final Sunday might as well be a work day because you definitely aren’t on vacation any longer!
One other thing the study found that could really help your employees if getting people to think and visualize their vacation in the days leading up to their time off. We’ve all heard that: “Oh, Tim, he’s already on vacation!” But, I’m sure it helps people start to unplug from the job and get ready for the full-time role of just enjoying some downtime.
Those who are working like mad right up until the time they leave, have a really hard time shutting it off! A great engagement idea would be getting employees little care packages of things that will help them on their vacation: some extra sunscreen, bug repellent, a Starbucks card, etc. Help them start to get their mind on having a relaxing time.
If they’re parents, select a safe word they can text you to call them and tell them they are urgently needed back at work!
Here’s my tip – don’t come back from your trip the day before you have to go back to work. Have to be at work on Monday? Fly or drive home on Saturday. You need that day to transition back to real life – laundry, groceries, going through the mail, etc. Having that day to get back to reality makes your first day back at work so much easier. I’ve learned the hard way!
Oh. My. Goodness. I love that photo!