Source: Road Warrior Voices
I used to work across the hall from a guy who constantly reminded everyone that he never took a day off from work, wearing his dedication to the Accounting Department like a badge of honor like a 4th Grader trying for that end-of-year Perfect Attendance certificate. He shrugged off Summer Fridays, ignored sick days and the idea of a vacation? Forget it. Guys like him aren’t exactly hard to find: according to Skift, 62% of Americans have already decided that they aren’t taking a summer vacation, and a full 42% said that they worked every single day last year. But according to new research, that mindset might be keeping you from getting a raise or a promotion.
According to Project: Time Off, a research initiative that hopes to show the benefits of using your paid time off, workers who used all of their allotted vacation days had a 6.5% better chance of getting a raise or a promotion than those who had more than two full work-weeks (11 days) of vacation time left. Shawn Achor, the author of The Happiness Advantage, suggests that even though the percentage is small, it shows that the idea that you can’t ever leave the office if you want to advance your career is not necessarily the case.
Why might that be true? According to Achor, it’s because taking a vacation can lead to an increase in positive thinking, which can in turn lead to measurable improvements in several performance categories. Achor writes:
In The Happiness Advantage, I describe research that shows that when the brain can think positively, productivity improves by 31%, sales increase by 37%, and creativity and revenues can triple. In fact, the conclusion of my [Harvard Business Review] magazine article “Positive Intelligence” was that “the greatest competitive advantage in the modern economy is a positive and engaged brain.” To be truly engaged at work, your brain needs periodic breaks to gain fresh perspective and energy.
The key is to ensure that your vacation will, in fact, lead to positive thinking instead of several days of stress and hassle. Achor’s research suggests that the keys to having a positive vacation – and one that can benefit both your brain and your career – are:
- Planning at least a month in advance
- Preparing your team and coworkers for your absence
- Traveling beyond the borders of your own city
- Meeting with a local host or guide when you arrive at your location
- Planning an itinerary or setting travel details – everything from the basics like accommodations to the kinds of activities you’ll be doing during the day – before you leave town.
Those tips are all practical, doable and worth it, if it will improve your time away and help you further your career when you settle back into your desk chair. If you’re hesitant to leave the office behind entirely, perhaps this is the summer you could sell your boss on letting you take a co-working vacation instead. Either way, write a postcard to that guy in Accounting. You know exactly where to send it.