Taking Vacation During Tough Times

water skiing


HR Roundtable panel member Michael Haberman discusses why it’s important for employees to take a vacation, even during these tough economic times:

The other day on television one of the early evening gossip programs showed pictures of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and his family vacationing in Hawaii. One of the commentators questioned why the governor of the state was on vacation instead of fixing the stateís economic woes. His implication was that the Governor should be at his desk 16 hours a day 7 days a week working on the state’s business. I on the other hand was happy to see an executive understanding the value of stepping out of the stress and getting refreshed and reloaded.

Americans are already notorious for the little amount of vacation time they take. The U.S. consistently ranks at the bottom of poll after poll. Many employees will go years without taking vacation time or will use it a day at a time rather than in the larger chunks needed to be effective relaxation. And now with the economic situation being what it is and companies cutting headcount many employees are reluctant to take time off lest they be found to be “disposable” by their absence. And the sad fact is that some employers may indeed make that decision.

My contention is that in these very stressful times vacation time off is more important than ever. Many of us have to work longer and do more because of staff shortages. This results in more stress, more burnout, and more health problems, which in turn results in lowered productivity. And lowered productivity is what will get you noticed and potentially let go.

Vacation time has been shown to:

  • Promote Creativity
  • Stave Off Burnout
  • Keep Us Healthy
  • Strengthen Bonds
  • Help With Your Job Performance
  • A week away from work, even better two weeks away, will help you come back to the job renewed and refreshed. It will also help you stay connected to your family. It will help you set your priorities. Consultant Alan Weiss said in a recent newsletter, having a balance in priorities is important. Working so hard at a job to support your family and then having no time to spend with them is an unbalanced set of priorities.

    So take that vacation and go and get renewed. It will help you, your family and your job.

    What do you think about Mike’s advice? Will you be taking a vacation this year or are you too worried about keeping your job?

13 comments Add your comment


July 14th, 2009
4:52 pm

I recently lost my job in March 09 but my partner and I had already planned for a week in orlando with the kids. I struggled with the decision of whether to go or not. My kids made straight A’s and was really looking forward to the trip. we decided to leap out on faith and go anyway. We had a blast, the kids learned a lot about the ocean and ocean creatures, we didnt eat out, we cooked in the villa and we didnt buy any souveniers. We had a blast, my kids were very happt, partner was refreshed and I just decided to enjoy even thought I didnt have a job. I’m so glad we went. Yes take a vacation!!!


April 12th, 2009
8:45 pm

aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Maui, Maui, Maui aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhh.


April 12th, 2009
8:19 pm

I just returned from a week in Orlando. The relaxation was much needed…I was on overload. A week away from work has allowed me to recharge and place things in perspective. The smiles on my wife and daughter face at Disney/Seaworld are immeasurable. It was worth every $$$. Too often, we buy into the culture of working hard with no play; failing to understand other areas of our lives suffer. As result our performance at home and work is not optimal.