Should You Plan to Take Time Off for the Holidays?
Hcareers / OCTOBER 26 2020

The holidays are approaching, and this is normally a time when people consider taking a few vacation days if it’s feasible for them, but this year may feel different. If you are still working, you may be worried about taking days off and keeping your job. Or you may feel like it’s pointless to take time off if you have no plans for holiday get-togethers. 

Although you may feel uncertain about taking some time off, here are a few things to consider and why you should schedule yourself a few vacation days, even if it’s just to stay at home. 

Why you should take time off 

This year has been very stressful for almost everyone – from dealing with a public health pandemic, unemployment, politics, and personal struggles. If you are still working through all of this, you’re at risk of burning out faster than during a normal year because of handling those stressors on top of keeping yourself and guests safe at work and maybe even dealing with unprecedented situations. 

In order to continue being a productive employee, you need to prioritize your mental health. Vacations and time off help you to detach from work and prevent burnouts. Think of it as your recovery period. 

In fact in 2017, Michelle Gielan, a psychology researcher and motivational speaker studied the effects vacations have on work performance and found that employees who took 11 or more paid days of vacation were almost twice as likely to have received a bonus or raise. 

The same idea still applies to those who are job hunting. You should still plan to take a few days off from your search to avoid burning yourself out. Job hunting can be even more stressful than working, so taking some time away can make you feel healthier and give you more energy when you resume your search. 

How to make the most of your time off 

If you decide to take some time off for the holidays, here are some ideas on how to truly detach from work, besides catching up on some TV or movies you may have missed. 

  1. Plan how long you need to take off – Make sure to know how many vacation days you have available to take and talk with your manager to make sure you are both okay with the amount of time off you want to take. 
  2. Make sure you are covered at work (if necessary) – Two of the most common reasons people say make them not want to take time off of work is coming back to a mountain of work and that no one else can do their job while they’re away. If you work in a position like a front desk professional or a housekeeper you most likely won’t need to plan for someone to cover you, the manager will schedule someone else. For other employees who may need to be covered during vacation, if you are able to do any of the work ahead of your time off, do it, but slowly to not overwhelm yourself. Make a schedule for yourself after your time off to avoid being stressed.
  3.  Set boundaries while you’re out – It’s important both for yourself and your team. If you decide to check emails while you’re out, set a time limit, and communicate it with your coworkers before leaving. The goal is to detach from work, but since times are uncertain and ever-changing, it’s understandable to want to stay somewhat connected and available. 
  4. Consider disconnecting fully – We’re constantly bombarded with news, whether on TV, radio, social media, etc, so you may want to set limits for yourself on those as well. 

Try to enjoy the holidays as much as you can this year, after the year we’ve been through – especially in the hospitality industry- you deserve it!