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Getaway from Stress

May 22, 2013

 It’s incredible how one of the very perks we look forward to, time off, can become a major source of stress; the late nights before the vacation, the thoughts of what we’re missing while we are away and the pile of work waiting for us when we return.  Despite these drawbacks, getting away from the office can favorably impact employee and company well-being.

 Studies show that there are health and productivity benefits to getting away from the office.  CNN reported benefits in the categories of health, creativity and innovation, economic and productivity.  Yes, it’s true, getting away from the office can actually make us more productive and creative.  It can increase the number of ways we approach innovation or the resolution of problems, help us notice details that were previously overlooked and enhance our level of engagement.  These are just some of the professional benefits.  Personally, we can enjoy new experiences, connect with family and friends, find our center, relax, recharge, be in the moment, stretch ourselves willingly and generate fresh ideas.

 In order to maximize the benefits, it’s up to us to minimize the fall-out of being away from the office.  Although, this can seem improbable, it is possible.  Not only can productive actions better ensure that our work product will not suffer due to our absence, it can also free us up to enjoy our time away with more oomph.

 Below are some suggested steps:

  1. Be proactive.  Carve out time to plan your departure.  Of course, this includes the details of your vacation destination, as well as, the ins and outs of what has to happen in the office before, during and after your time away.
  2. Gain buy-in.  Communicate your plan to stakeholders in advance.  Building trust in your abilities to ensure the best interests of the business are covered can lead to increased support.
  3. Prepare your work.  Set those you have trusted to keep projects on track up for success by making sure they have what they need.  The clearer the expectations are before you leave, the higher the probability tasks will be completed in your absence.  For additional support, provide a back-up resource(s) in the event of emergencies, issues and questions that might otherwise prevent forward movement while you are away.
  4. Set-up your return.  Before you leave, block out calendar time and set meetings, for when you return, to get caught up on important items as a priority.  This allows for more purposeful action and a quicker immersion.
  5. Enjoy your vacation!  Have confidence that your preparations were effective, hence allowing you to disconnect from the office and make the most of your getaway.  Consider leaving your phone and computer at home, or at least limit check-in’s.  Make it a point to observe and explore along the way in order to enhance enjoyment and expand your mind.
  6. Embrace your return.  Knowing that you prepared well and made the most of your vacation will allow you to step back into work more refreshed and confident than in the past. Honor the meetings you prearranged and use your blocked time well.  Keep in mind that sorting through the daunting number of emails in your inbox may not be the most efficient and effective first step.  You might gain more traction by talking to people that can give you a summary of events and priority actions.  Remember to show appreciation to those that covered your work.
  7. Extend the benefits.  Reflect on your experiences as a means to learn and grow.  Determine the elements that served you well and those that could have gone better.  Find ways to infuse creative ideas, inspiration and adjusted behaviors into your work weeks and personal time to realize the benefits long after the bags are unpacked.

Weigh in on the conversation, how do you maximize your vacation benefits? 

© Viage Partners 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Viage Partners with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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