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Five Reasons to Leave the Office Behind When You're on Vacation

Five Reasons to Leave the Office Behind When You're on Vacation

Your vacation plans are set. You’re ready to go and ready to get away from the office. The problem is you don’t ever really leave the office behind. If you’re like most of us, you feel the need to stay connected to your workplace even when you’re on vacation. Truth be told, you’re more likely to leave your wallet at home than your BlackBerry when taking vacations.   

Recently, a client of ours who is a VP at a Fortune 100 company arrived in Paris to start his honeymoon. On his first day, he couldn’t find his BlackBerry and realized that he had left it in a cab that morning. His first reaction was, “Oh, my God! What am I going to do?” Then a strange thought occurred to him. Maybe this was a good thing. After all, he was on his honeymoon. Two weeks later, he was back at work and vowed never to be held hostage to the office during vacation getaways. Sure, he had to catch up on a backlog of work, but it was still better than work intruding on his holiday.

For those of you thinking, “OK, but I have my own business” or “Yeah, but I have a lot of responsibility,” this VP was running a $3 billion division.

Here’s why it’s a good thing to disengage from the office when you’re on vacation:

1. Disengaging Can Be Better for Business

When you take the time to clear your mind of business issues, you gain a better perspective on them when you return to the office. It’s similar to someone who takes a job in a new industry and brings a fresh perspective, which can be incredibly valuable. Relaxing helps your subconscious come up with creative solutions. By not thinking about work, your mind will have the ability to look at old issues in new ways.

2. Subordinates Can Step Up

Remember the first time you had to make a decision while your boss was away? Without your boss as a safety net, you experienced more growth than you would have otherwise. Whether you have direct reports or are part of a cross-functional effort, you give others the opportunity to take the reins if you don’t work while you’re on vacation. This hands-off approach benefits everyone.

3. People Will Respect Your Time More

We all do it -- take calls from coworkers when we’re on vacation. The problem is that these calls disrupt your vacation and aren’t fair to you -- especially if the issue in question could have been handled before you left or can wait until you get back.

4. You’ll Have a Better Time

When you go on vacation and know the office won’t contact you, you can enjoy yourself more. Have another margarita -- no one’s going to pick your brain about anything important today.

5. Your Family Will Appreciate It

Your spouse and children want and deserve your undivided attention when you’re on a family vacation. They can tell when you’re thinking about the office, and know that they’re playing second fiddle to your job.

Remember the adage, “No one on their deathbed ever said, ‘I wish I’d spent more time at the office.” Don’t wait until then to have this revelation. Use your vacation as it was intended. You, your coworkers and your family will all reap the benefits.

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