Take Frequent Vacations – Make The Most Of Your Leaves During Festivals
The ant is knowing and wise, but he doesn’t know enough to take a vacation – Clarence Day
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Every culture in the world is hallmarked by its feasts and festivals. The traditional celebrations of festivals are times to be enjoyed and cherished. India, with its multicultural and diverse society, celebrates a plethora of festivals, with around 20 major festivals being declared holidays. Traditionally, in India, as elsewhere, families still gather together to celebrate festivals, making each celebration a blessing.
Yet for many of the workforce, with work becoming a priority, festivals are no longer the idyllic times of celebrations. Thanks to technology, work intrudes even at home, and being connected takes its toll. Of all the paradoxes affecting workplaces worldwide, perhaps the most significant and influential is the transformation brought by technology. While enabling remote working, the pervasively increasing use of technology ironically means we spend more time working! Often 24 x 7.
Despite the growing popularity of taking short vacations during extended weekends, and the fact that more Indians are travelling than ever before, both within the country as well as abroad, the Indian workforce still lags behind when it comes to taking vacations. The reasons for the Indian workforce not taking enough vacations may be manifold: economic and financial constraints, workload, deadlines, apprehensions - of losing out on the crucial deal/project, of missing opportunities for promotions and career progression, of work piling up while taking time off, non-availability of adequate replacement staff etc.
Staying in ‘work-mode’ 24/7 however, has serious outcomes, impacting both productivity and the mental well-being of individuals. Performance suffers, errors and inefficiencies crop in, stress levels increase and health, both physical and mental, suffers. Stress leads to loss of focus, and lower levels of productivity, apart from the effects on physical well being which often manifest as hypertension, acidity, diabetes or even cardiac arrests. The close association of work and stress implies that the importance of work-life balance can be undermined only at the risk of severe consequences to the well-being of both the individual and the organization.
Disconnecting from work helps the mind and body to relax and recharge, and one comes back, bursting with enthusiasm and ideas, ready to hit the ground running. Employees returning from a holiday feel rejuvenated and refreshed, productivity increases, and the organization gains, with a healthier workforce and healthier profits.
Across the world, in many countries, business enterprises often close for a week during Christmas/New Year. In India too, organizations do have holidays for festivals, though not for a week. Under the circumstances, given the tremendous positive impact of vacations on productivity and health, by combining annual leave with festivals, one can not only celebrate with traditional gusto but also enjoy the benefits of a holiday with near and dear ones.
Whether the extended holiday is spent with the family at home, enjoying the simple pleasures of being together, reconnecting and re-bonding, or in globe-trotting, exploring new destinations and cultures, the benefits are multi-fold. Taking frequent vacations and making the most of leave during festivals can just be the route to a win-win situation for both the employee and the employer.
The positive impact of frequent vacations on both the mental and physical well-being needs no reiteration. Not only do vacations help one relax and de-stress, but also spur the creative juices, often triggering innovative ideas at work. The ’recharge’ of spirit, body and mind reduces stress, enabling a better work-life balance for the employee. Employers benefit from a more energised, rejuvenated and focused workforce.
For organizations, frequent, short vacations need not imply lower productivity; rather it leads to a better employee experience and the associated benefits thereof. So let us not become the grasshopper or the ant. Instead, let us be the smarter version of the ant; wise enough to make the most of the leave earned/accumulated and take frequent vacations, especially during festivals.
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