Research shows that fewer people are taking their full annual leave entitlement. There are many reasons behind this, including fear of having too much work, feeling like colleagues may be left overloaded or feeling like time off is not needed. However, there are many benefits for taking annual leave, for both the individual and the organisation. We’ve shared below five key reasons to go on holiday, be it a long weekend or an exotic far away destination.
Holidays are a great opportunity for psychological detachment from work which can help relieve stress. What we mean by this is, take time out and switch off your work phone and e-mails and try not to talk about work issues. An increased physical distance and time away from an office environment is helpful when trying to mentally disengage from work. There are many studies that show holidays effectively reduce stress and improve wellbeing. One study found that a group of workers at a company who went on holiday had significantly lower levels of stress and burnout compared to their colleagues who did not take any time off work. These levels remained lower for up to three weeks after returning to work. Similarly, another study found that workers had improved moods, felt better rested and less anxious after returning from a holiday.
Improves physical health
A holiday can have great benefits for not only your psychological health but also your physical health. A study from University of California and Harvard found that just six days away can boost people’s immune system, reduce biological processes related to stress and levels of proteins linked to depression and dementia. Overall, they found that holidays were able to supress stress-related responses in the body and actually change how genes function. Additionally, if you have some time also try some meditation as it has been shown to further boost immune system functioning and ease physiological stress in the body which is suggested to be linked with healthier ageing. Some positive effects of the study were also found to last for a month after returning home. So, having some time off to recharge your batteries can keep your mind and body healthy and ready to take on the challenges back at work.
Travelling to foreign countries also has its benefits in terms of boosting creativity. Engaging in local cultures when abroad, such as immersing yourself in the local environment with new sounds, smells, languages and tastes has the potential to revitalise the mind and spark creativity. A study found that following recreational travel, 46 workers were able to produce a greater variety of ideas when they returned to work. A break in routine can also be beneficial for finding a solution to a problem at work. Spending time in different environments can broaden thinking and can help you consider things in a different way, whereas everyday routines can constrain mental thinking.
Good for productivity
August is peak holiday time, which may make you think this must be the least productive month for businesses. However, the time employees spend away from work in August can actually serve as a productivity-booster for when they return. We know that working lots of overtime can dampen our motivation and ultimately our productivity, so having that valuable time off allows employees to restore and reset their mental resources. When returning to work, even after a short break, employees feel energised to think and perform at their best and more motivated to achieve work goals.
Don’t have your short break or holiday booked yet? Well, you’re in luck. Research suggests that the anticipation of going on a trip has a positive impact on people’s happiness levels. Those who are planning a trip or have a holiday booked have reportedly higher happiness levels, compared to those who are not. The excitement can start weeks or months before the holiday, so get planning your break and enjoy the feeling of looking forward to it.
Both the individual and the organisation can reap the rewards of ensuring staff take their annual leave. Contact us to find out how we can help you and your oragnisation further understand these benefits and work towards releasing the full potential of people at work.