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Monday, June 09, 2008

Taking vacations increases your value

Is it possible that taking lots of vacation time can increase the value of your company? Are you one of the people who go through the angst of wanting to take vacation while secretly worried about what you will miss when you are gone --- will work pile up, will clients find other vendors, will the boss discover he doesn't need you?

To be more valued, Norm Brodsky, author of Inc. Magazine's Street Smarts column, insists you take a vacation -- but do it the right way! Here are the mistakes he says people make: Some think they are taking a vacation but they just moved their offices outdoors because they spend most of their vacation doing work. The other groups takes a vacation but really wants a lifestyle change and because they haven't done the planning they end up alienating customers and employees.

He says this is the key: Brodsky timed his vacations to coincide with the periods when business was slow. He says it made him smarter when he returned: "I could see issues and problems with a clarity I hadn't had before." (If you are an employee, you may want to vocalize your new clarity to your boss!)

To me, the most right-on sentence in Brodsky's article is this one: "Though people like to portray themselves as making sacrifices for their business, they aren't, in fact, helping anybody by not taking vacations."

Brodsky came up with the long-term goal of eventually taking off four months every year. "I know a lot of businesspeople my age who would like to be able to do that. The problem is, most haven't laid the groundwork." Brodsky laid the groundwork over seven years. He gradually increased his time away from the business and trained others to do his jobs. The upside: when he was at the company, he could focus on making contributions that would enhance the business, yet he could leave knowing his customers would never notice his absence.

Last year, when Brodsky went to sell a majority stake in his business, the company's ability to run without him increased the value. "I got a better price for my stock in addition to a lot of free time. That's something you might bear in mind the next time you're trying to decide whether to take a vacation."

Meanwhile, this summer a growing number are planning to bring the office with them on vacation, according to CareerBuilder.

Do you plan to take a vacation this summer? Are you planning to work on your vacation? Could you imagine yourself taking as much as four months off?


Anonymous Kristina Cowan said...

This is an excellent post--thanks for sharing Brodsky's story. I blogged about summer vacations yesterday, but I hadn't seen this article in my research. His point about timing vacations to periods when business is slow is very smart.

I think that, overall, workers who take regular vacations are more productive, satisfied and healthier (physically and mentally) than those who forsake time off.

1:52 PM  
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5:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think more people are afraid of even asking for vacation this year than believing vacation is beneficial. Companies are taking advantage of salaried employees. My husband, like many others, are being treated like slaves. My husband works 80 hours a week, has to give up his days off every other week-end and cannot dare ask for this type of abuse to stop or he knows he will lose his job. We are all paying the price and at this rate; I pray my husband's company will not cause him to have a heart attack. His company claims to be family orientated btw. I hear similar stories from many workers,it is outrageous to be overworked, underpaid while thanking God for at least having a job.

11:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is truth to both sides of this situation. When you are stressed you need time to think - stress muddles the brain. However, it is so true that when times are tough and there are layoffs if your boss doesn't see your face you stand a definite chance of being the one they layoff. I struggle on knowing that I am the one my family is counting on for that job.

1:34 PM  
Anonymous shopgirl46 said...

I agree with the wife who chose to remain anonymous. Companies ARE fierce and really taking advantage of salaried employees in a slave-like manor. I worked for a small, and apparently financially struggling Retailer in Atlanta just recently, where they hired 4 managers, myself being one, and 6 sales associates. After only 3 months, they blatantly fired the store manager, and left us all there to bleed, refusing us time off for 3 months, upon which time they let the entire sales staff go. During the months of Dec-Feb. We were stressed, starved for time off, and forced to work more hours than originally agreed upon. Retailers, especially, are more brutal than ever with "punishing" their staff for fear of losing out on sales. These are some of the most abusive situations one can be in. Had I been given time off when I requested it, and so desperately needed it, perhaps, I would have chosen to continue employment there. Point is, many Companies refuse vacation requests, and don't give a crap about their employees, they want your blood and your soul. The shameful thing is, Americans give it.

2:41 PM  
Anonymous Jacqueline said...

Great post, and one that needs to be understood better. As a solopreneur I work way more hours than is probably good for me, and taking vacations is always with reluctance. But this doesn't serve me or the business in the long run. I agree with Brodsky about clearing the space to allow new vision to arise. It has helped me in the past.

For many, who are in fear of losing their jobs if they take vacations, these are our irrational fears and ultimately serve no one, least of all ourselves.Taking a vacation is much better than waiting until we get sick and have to take two weeks off in bed.

Being kind to yourself is the best gift of all and can be easily done if you take a more fearless stance and learn the strategies to help you do that.

9:44 AM  
Anonymous Maureen said...

I googled this topic specifically because I am terrified to the point of being unable to sleep at night dreading our upcoming three week vacation. My husband is considered a valued employee and survived a series of layoffs earlier this year. He has three weeks of vacation time accrued and made the decision to take our normal family vacation. I am terrifed that because his job has waning periods of lots of work and slower times that being gone three weeks will put him at risk if there are more layoffs. He discussed the time off with his boss a few months ago and because no one else has requested that time slot it was approved without issue. My husband seems to think that there is nothing to be concerned about. I don't understand why he has to take the full three weeks......

9:05 PM  
Anonymous Term Papers said...

I never thought of it like that, but it really is true.

5:13 AM  
Blogger cindy said...

I'm wondering if the fear of taking vacations is going to get better or worse in the new year...I can't imagine it getting better!

2:35 PM  
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Blogger Mike said...

Good post! Interesting story. Most large companies can perform multiple functions, are active in more than one line of business, and operate in multiple countries. For many companies, such complexity leads to serious internal conflicts, slow decision making, duplication of costs, and a silo mentality. For all the attention given to crafting a smart strategy, most organizations lag far behind in the ability to execute strategies. Bringing about alignment and coordination in complex organizations is one of the most important challenges facing managers today.

The IMD OWP 2010 will present the central principles of managing complex organizations and then guide managers to apply these principles to their own companies.

3:18 AM  
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Blogger Angelica said...

Great post, I sure need a vacation now and get away from the city and the Buenos Aires rent

11:34 AM  

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