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The Secret Perks of Time Away from Work

Getting business done between June and September can be quite a tall order, especially if your work depends on collaboration. This might push some to buckle down and push especially hard to get projects delivered across the summer months, but embracing the changing cadence of work has several surprising benefits, not just for those away from their desks but for the team as a whole.

If you don’t make time for wellness, you’ll be forced to make time for illness. When working with a team, it is impossible for everyone to operate at full capacity at all times - even if the team members are happy to try to do that. The body and mind need rest, and putting that PTO time to use means the team can plan for time away much more effectively than the inevitable sick day cancellation. Plus, well-rested team members are more creative, present, and productive!

It’s no secret that a day away from the office can leave you feeling refreshed and at your best, but let’s think about how your absence actually can benefit the team reporting for duty on the days you’re out of office.

Your place of employment should be able to handle your absence - and that’s not a knock on your workload! With very few exceptions, most places of work must be able to divvy up your responsibilities and make sure the company delivers while you relax and refresh. If your current place of work can’t handle you taking a week away, that might be a signal to evaluate your team’s approach, or maybe a nudge to incorporate more delegation into your workflow.

Delegation is the key to the most powerful secret of taking your time off - as your colleagues step up to support your to-dos, they get an opportunity to experiment with implementing new skills and completing new tasks in a comparatively low-stakes environment, especially if there is time for you to review your colleagues work before it is shared outside of the team. You rest, your teammates receive professional development, your project keeps momentum, everyone wins!

This is definitely an oversimplification of shifting around work responsibilities to accommodate PTO, but this approach will have a positive impact on company culture - delivery becomes a collective responsibility, and colleagues have a better understanding of what each team member does. In my opinion, it is worth the stress of redistribution of work.

It is a risk to have tasks that only one team member knows how to complete, and making sure each team member uses their time off, and does the appropriate prep with team mates, prevents this risky “silo working” from becoming ingrained in company culture.

So yes, this late-July blog post is just a small meditation on work-life balance - but take it as proof that I practice what I preach! And hey, if you read through this post and think you really are the one employee who can’t spare a day away from the office, you are exactly who should be reading this post. Talk openly with your team, and let them show you that they can deliver!