Why All Work and No Play is Bad for Business

  • Jun 25, 2014
  • Kristi Hines

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Think your business won’t survive if you take a week off? Ironically, the only thing that won’t survive is you. We’re not kidding either. The Psychosomatic Journal of Medicine analyzed data from a study of heart disease in over twelve thousand men. What they found: those who took up to five vacations per year were less likely to die of various causes. 32% less likely, to be exact.

Ladies, you’re not exempt from reading this. Women account for half of the cases of heart disease in the US. So not taking vacations can kill you too!

If that’s not enough to convince you that you (and your employees) need a vacation, then here are some specific benefits of vacation for your business:

You will start getting better ideas.

During interviews for his book “How to Succeed in Business Without Working So Damn Hard,” bestselling author Robert Kriegel found that people have more innovative ideas when they are away from work.

So if you feel like the idea tank is empty around the office, then it’s time to get away. Who knows, you just might strike that golden idea that takes your small business further than you could have imagined.

You will be more productive.

How many work hours do you spend on social media, watching cute kitten videos, or taking the latest Which Character on Game of Thrones Are You quiz online? You don’t have to answer that aloud, but if you know you’ve been diddling around the web more than you should, then it’s time for a vacation.

Christine Louise Hohlbaum, author of “The Power of Slow: 101 Ways to Save Time in Our 24/7 World,” found that companies suffer when people get exhausted. Being overworked leads to surfing the Internet, which, as you would imagine, lowers productivity. So stop surfing, and start vacationing!

If mindless web surfing really is hurting your productivity, and a vacation isn’t in the cards for you at this moment, try browser apps like StayFocusd for Chrome. It allows you to limit your time on specific websites during work hours.

You will stop calling in sick.

Okay, vacation is not a magical cure to all sicknesses. But vacation can boost your health according to Karen Matthews of the University of Pittsburg’s Mind Body Center. Specific benefits included lower blood pressure, lower stress hormones, and smaller waistlines. And who doesn’t want a smaller waistline, regardless of the benefits?

Take a moment right now (yes now) and add up all of the days you didn’t work in the last year because of common colds, migraines, depression, digestive issues, and other health problems. We’re willing to guess that taking a week of vacation (or two even) would amount to less.

Convinced to take time off? Make the most of it!

Now that you’re finally planning to take time off, here are some tips that will help you get the best benefits vacation has to offer.

  • Vacation doesn’t require travel. If finances are an issue, consider a staycation where you do things close to home that do not require expensive plane tickets or hotel reservations. Those silly tourist things in your town that you’ve always avoided? Time to check them out – just like a tourist.
  • Really unplug. If you absolutely must check in with work, do it once a day. But if possible, don’t even do that. Even if you have to lie and say you will be in an area without wifi or cellular.
  • This means unplug your brain too. Granted, we did mention that you might get a great business idea while away from work. But here’s what you do with it. You write it down. You go back to your vacation. If you spend your entire vacation thinking about your business, then you won’t be doing yourself any favors.
  • Automate your digital self. Help yourself relax by setting up out of office replies for your email, a special message on your voicemail greeting letting others know you are away, and so forth. That way, you won’t think you’ve left anyone hanging.

Last, but not least, if you find that you absolutely can’t take a vacation because you are so vital to your business that it will fall apart without you, you should look at this as a sign that you need to hire and train someone to be your backup. That will relieve some pressure and free you up for some much-needed R&R.