Kids are back in school and we’re getting dangerously close to flipping the calendar to September – there’s no denying summer is coming to a close. As we get ready to say goodbye to sunshine and longer days, here’s hoping your summer is wrapping up with enough warm memories to get you through the winter months. Do those memories include a summer vacation? If not, you’re not alone.

Punta Cana picA study last year by the U.S. Travel Association showed that fewer than half of American workers used all of their vacation time. The study dubs the large group of people leaving vacation time on the table as “work martyrs.” Martyrs may think they’re being selfless, but they’re suffering and so is their work.

As you can imagine, those who aren’t taking vacations are the folks who are feeling stressed out and overwhelmed. They’re trying to do it all and unlikely to give any one area their very best. The result is likely a drop in work quality and diminished productivity.

If you’re among the many employees not taking time off, not only will your work suffer, but so will your health. The Framingham Heart Study found that men who didn’t take a vacation for several years were 30 percent more likely to have heart attacks. The same study found that skipping vacation for just one year could increase the risk of heart disease.

When you do take a vacation, it’s just as important to disconnect. When your toes are in the sand, your fingers shouldn’t be busy on your laptop or phone. A recent Glassdoor survey found 61 percent of respondents checked work email while on vacation. The same survey found that nearly a quarter of people were contacted by coworkers while on vacation and a fifth of respondents heard from their bosses.

How do you truly get away from it all? Set clear parameters and stick to them. Make sure your coworkers and clients know that you’ll be on vacation and unable to check in, designate coworkers to help handle your load and tie up loose ends before turning on your Out of Office Assistant.

You’ll return relaxed, refueled and reinvigorated.

Mindy Peterson

C2 Senior Strategist who enjoyed a beautiful vacation to Punta Cana

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