In today’s burnout culture, 1 out 4 professionals never or almost never takes all their vacation days. 1 in 3 feels uncomfortable requesting vacation time. 77% of professional employees say that they experience burnout and over 40% of workers have left jobs because of it (Deloitte Well-Being and Burnout Surveys). It is time to shyft this thinking. Travel is more than a trip – it is the key to beating burnout and re-connecting with who you are.
Travel promotes rejuvenation. It provides time to process the deep work of deep-thinking — building curiosity and innovation. Travel supports our need to reconnect with ourselves and our core values – our motivation for doing the work that we do.
As a sociologist and entrepreneur, I view travel as an investment. Financial investments insulate us from unexpected events by providing economic capital with which to overcome them. Travel is similar. It is an investment in our mental and physical well-being. It insulates us with social and personal capital that provides resources to combat stress and challenges at work. With 77% of professionals experiencing some sort of burnout, travel should be a priority. Company cultures that discourage vacation run the risk of fostering an environment where loss of purpose and meaning, fatigue, reduced productivity and turnover run rampant. Companies that encourage staff to take time to recharge receive dividends – they are rewarded with a more engaged, energized, and productive workforce.
It is hard to rejuvenate when a company culture creates and maintains an expectation that we should be available 24/7 to our co-workers, management teams, and clients. We must shyft this thinking. As individuals and companies, we need to embrace the ideology that we will be the best version of ourselves when we grant ourselves time to reboot. In business, we understand that quantity does not equal quality, so stop managing yourself and your staff like it does. We all know people that put in hours, but their work is subpar – long-hours and unused vacation days don’t equal quality performance. Take time to reconnect with who you are and give you and your company the advantage of energy and engagement.
Traveling abroad used to be my biggest savior. With limited or no cell service, I was unreachable. People understood that being out of the country meant out of touch. With today’s technology, it is virtually impossible to claim to be unreachable. Despite the advent of technology, we all must work to disconnect from the constraints of the daily grind. When we don’t get away from the noise that surrounds us, it is virtually impossible to do the deep work where we think at a level where real innovation and change occurs.
I recently spent a 3 month stretch where I was working 15-hour days 7 days per week. And this wasn’t just clocking hours – this was deep, intellectual work and analysis. This was time researching and crafting hours of talks while also writing and developing the foundation of a new company I was starting. At the end of the three months, I took a 10-day vacation. I was exhausted. My thinking was labored, so the timing of the trip was fortuitous. When I got back from my travels, I tabled several of the projects I was working on for a few more weeks to give myself more time to digest and process – kind of like rebooting a computer.
When you take a break from ideas – the ones that really matter – the ones that lead to opportunities – you gain perspective. There is something advantageous about time and space – seeing the same piece of information with fresh eyes.
When I travel, I always encounter some piece of news, a conversation, or an event that enhances my way of thinking. Don’t forgo your next vacation. Take time to rejuvenate, reconnect, and reboot. Invest in yourself. Take your turn. The rewards will astound you. I am a social awareness entrepreneur that deals in social dynamics, so travel is always more than a trip.