Too often in our society, employees and business owners alike are pressured to grind both at work and at home. Financial stress is often the motivator for being a “workaholic.” The value of taking some time off is drastically undervalued to your mental well-being which in turn impacts your financial success. Here’s why it’s so important to your finances for you to put down the stress and step away.
As financial planners, we frequently encounter clients who say that they want to quit yesterday.
But could that be mitigated if, earlier in their careers, they’d been afforded some significant de-compressing time?
More and more often, larger employers are offering employees 4-6 weeks of a paid sabbatical after a relatively short tenure with the company (typically around 5 years). How would that have impacted a corporate veteran had this benefit been offered 20 years ago?
Significant time off allows the brain to refresh and reach its creative potential. By removing a primary reason why folks feel tied to a job (i.e. the need to earn money), employers can allow their employees to recharge so thoroughly. What do they get in return for their modest investment? A happier, dedicated, and more creative workforce. Especially with the millennial generation, a benefit like a sabbatical (or true guilt-free vacation time) could lead to higher employee retention.
If you’re lucky enough to take a sabbatical, make sure you’ve clearly planned it out before you begin. Yes, you need decompressing time in the beginning to truly relax. But after a couple weeks, you will begin to get bored (much like in retirement!) While encountering new challenges and opportunities may seem like too much to handle at first, remember that you’ll have removed so much from your plate when it comes time to tackle them.
Room for Others to Grow
Despite what you might think, you’re not irreplaceable.
That’s right, if you’re away, it will force your employees and colleagues to figure it out. Yes, your roles and responsibilities will be divvied up for others to do.
And guess what?
This could be a great opportunity for a newer, or younger, or unexpected person to step up and prove themselves. We promise you that during your absence, your emails will get answered, the building will still be standing, and the company won’t fold.
How to Prepare (And What to Expect Afterwards)
My two week vacation has really cleared my head. No, it was not a sabbatical; but I planned properly so I was able to have quite a bit of freedom. Communication and preparation were key. I told all clients that I would be out, and redirected them to colleagues in case any issues arose. As well, I formulated a detailed list of daily to-dos for my team. Because of proper preparation, the return from vacation has been seamless. Although I’m missing the beautiful beaches in the south of France, I’m consoled by the fact that I don’t have a mountain of paperwork on my desk!
While away, I did think about our business a little bit. However, my ideas were not about daily tasks, but more about a longer-term vision. I feel so much more creative now that I’m back in the office. It’s hard to achieve this mindset at home when we are constantly pulled in many different directions. While the point of any vacation is to enjoy and relax, it is likely that genuine time away will make you a better, more motivated employee once you’ve returned.
Sometimes taking any amount of time off, away from screens, can work wonders for even the most high-strung person. Leave your work papers at home – it can wait! Now go outside and enjoy the summer!
This article is inspired by my most recent vacation. My husband and I took two full weeks off in early July and traveled to France, Germany, and The Netherlands. It was a fantastic, *almost* stress-free, vacation (we did experience some stress dealing with European airports!) As a new business owner, I initially felt guilty about taking this trip. But, with proper preparation and the encouragement of my business partner, Ron, I decided to “go for it.” It was so nice to take my own advice!
Finally, on a fun note, all of the photos featured in this post are from my trip. -Nicole Sullivan