R&R AND ITS POSITIVE EFFECTS ON PRODUCTIVITY
by J. Vazquez
October 1st, 2018 - Initially published in July 2015 as part of 3DENT’s newsletter. Edited and Republished in October 2018
The June 1 2015 cover of TIME Magazine reads "WHO KILLED SUMMER VACATION" by Jack Dickey. Looking into it, I also found a radio interview on the same topic. In the article, Mr. Dickey mentions that Americans are not using their vacation time, and even when they do, the vacations are too short to get the restoration needed to return to work re-energized. Even when people take vacations, they stay connected to work through email and mobile phone use. Surprisingly, the article goes on to say that these behaviors are not employer-driven, but employee-driven.
At 3DENT, we believe the studies that show that it is actually beneficial for companies to have employees who take a proper amount of vacation. For instance, the August 6, 2012 article in The Atlantic by Dereck Thompson, entitled "The Case for Vacation: Why Science Says Breaks Are Good for Productivity" states that "just as small breaks improve concentration, long breaks replenish job performance."
As the articles mention, sometimes employees feel they simply have too much work to be able to afford a vacation. I used to think that way, too. Now, I feel I have to demonstrate to our employees that we are serious about taking time off. In fact, right after OTC, I took a six-day whitewater rafting trip down the Colorado River, through the Grand Canyon. As you'd imagine, I was "off the grid," and it was great! This trip was my third in five years where I have been away from electricity, phones and email for multiple days. The previous two trips were hikes in Crater Lake and Big Bend (a few pictures from these trips are shown below).
Having worked with European companies and now being affiliated with OVERDICK (from Germany), I know about the 1-month vacations some Europeans are known to take, and I applaud them for it. I believe that part of the reason this practice is not disruptive to the businesses is that people have become accustomed to it. In the States, we are getting accustomed to people being off either every other Friday or on Friday afternoons, but it seems obvious that we still do not fully believe in the benefits of extended breaks. Hopefully, that will change soon!
6 day rafting trip through the the Grand Canyon on the Colorado River
(Pictures by JV May 2015)
Big Bend (pictures by JV, Feb. 2014) Crater Lake (picture by JV, Aug. 2010