Yesterday was Labor Day and, like many of you, I was blessed with a day off. I hoped you enjoyed the holiday and were able to spend it doing something that didn’t feel like work. Labor Day became an official U.S. holiday in 1894, having first been proposed back in 1882 as a way to recognize the contributions of working men & women to the strength of our nation. Oregon actually began celebrating the day in 1887 (in the month of February) and by the time it was adopted federally, 30 states were already observing Labor Day.
I was really thankful for the extra day off. I needed to finish up some backyard projects and was able to some time relaxing as well. It was nice to recharge the batteries a little bit.
We all need some time off now and then. We need to spend some time away from our responsibilities in order to approach them more effectively. I’ve found that when I spend a day or two away from work, I come back with a fresh perspective. Big tasks seem easier. Answers that eluded me for days suddenly become obvious.
But not everyone takes advantage of their time off. We have a workaholic problem in the United States. According to the U.S. Travel Association, 40% of American workers will leave vacation days on the table this year. Despite the fact that we all long for more time off, a huge portion of our workforce doesn’t use what they have. Why?
Well, according to the same study…
40% said they fear returning to a mountain of work.
35% said no one else can do the job in their absence.
33% said they “can’t afford” to use the time.
20% said they don’t want to be seen as replaceable.
But time off is actually better for your work performance. People who take vacations have lower stress, lower their risk of heart disease, and have more motivation to achieve their goals. Research shows that just 24 hours away from work can have a significant impact on your physical and mental outlook. Organizations obviously benefit from employees who are healthy, focused, and motivated.
Who would have thought that being off for Labor Day could make us better at our jobs?