I’ve been on vacation this past week, and it’s been pretty glorious. I haven’t really even picked up my laptop (until today when I had to write the blog). Somehow though, that in itself is a bit nervewracking. First of all, I currently have 26,158 emails, and I still have another day left of work (plus a good portion of today). Second, things move quickly in the tech world. What the heck have I missed by zoning out?
These sort of things are difficult to navigate in the tech world. It feels weird ignoring my emails, and taking a step back from work. Partially because the thought of looking through that many emails is daunting, but also because things move so quickly. Will we have completely implemented a new technology when I get back? Will they realize that they don’t need me? Will I have too difficult a time getting back in the work groove because I’m actually made to be a beach bum (well, a wealthy beach-goer, who isn’t actually wealthy)?
All those fears aside, I think it’s important to take vacations, and to set some time aside to decompress. In the past, I have kept up with my email, completed a few hours of work every day, and been available pretty much constantly on my phone. The result: I haven’t really felt rejuvenated when coming back from vacation. I’ve been living in American vacations, instead of European vacations.
Based on a study by the U.S. Travel Association’s Project Time Off, women are less likely than men to take their allotted vacation time. In 2016, only 44% of women took all their vacation time, compared with 48% of men. (Women Take Less Vacation Time) Neither of these numbers are great, but why is it lower for women? It seems like there are a few reasons.
- Women feel less secure about their job.
- More vacation time can lead to fewer promotions.
- Corporate culture doesn’t support the idea that a vacation is beneficial.
- Women express more guilt about vacationing showing a lack of commitment to their position.
- Women may be more likely to use their vacation for family situations, and save it for “emergencies”. (This is my personal surmise)
Whatever the reasons, studies have shown that vacations are actually beneficial to your work life. It’s been shown to reduce stress, prevent heart disease, help you sleep better, and improve productivity once you’ve returned (cf. 4 Scientific Reasons Why Vacation is Awesome for You). Huffington Post even suggests that taking a vacation might help stir those creative juices while you’re away, and give you good ideas. Plus, it makes you happier.
Taking a vacation is just good for you, something that Europe has known for a while. We are lucky enough to live in a world where most people can take vacation. So please, remember to take some time off, and put the technology down. And try not to stress out about how much you’re not keeping up with emails while you’re gone. I’ll try to do the same.