Holidays do help the well-being of workers

New studies show that we are becoming increasingly overworked as a society. During the recent Covid-19 pandemic, many people had no choice but to abandon their holiday plans due to the various disruptions to travel arrangements, novel border controls, and the ever-changing requirements and regulations imposed on workplaces. This, coupled with the unique challenges that come with working from home, has resulted in a newly cultivated trend of working longer days and seldom switching off. 

This trend is having detrimental effects on workforces around the world and is one that we must strive to change. Without having meaningful breaks from work, we are putting at risk the well-being of our workers and damaging their support structures and connections outside of the workplace. More importantly, by not taking time to disconnect from work, we are forfeiting the benefits of effective critical and creative thinking within our businesses. 

It might be a good idea for you to make the most of long weekends to truly disconnecting from your emails, LinkedIn and other work-related platforms. 

How holidays help with physical and mental well-being

Holidays are vital to maintaining the well-being of workers. It is well-established amongst psychologists that the absence of meaningful breaks inevitably damages both a person’s physical and mental well-being.

For example, those who are overworked more often suffer from neck or back pain, headaches, diabetes and heart disease. Some workers are also more prone to suffering from mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. It is no wonder then that the World Health Organisation has recently noted that working more than 55 hours per week is considered a ‘serious health hazard’. As such, taking a holiday should be at least an annual priority, if only for the sake of your health. 

Additionally, as we have given less priority to investing time into meaningful breaks, the conditions of our relationships and support structures have deteriorated. In being ever-available to our work, we have become more unavailable to our friends, spouses, children and pets. The negative effects of this can be seen in studies that show a correlation between working long hours and marital breakdowns. Therefore, the value of meaningful holidays cannot be overstated in providing the crucial time that we need to cultivate healthy, strong relationships and build effective support structures. 

Lastly, in not prioritising our holiday times, we are actually doing our workplaces and careers a disservice. This is because we need adequate rest and disconnection from work in order to rejuvenate the very critical and creative thinking capabilities that make us an asset in the workplace. Those who are overworked tend to make more mistakes and to function reactively, rather than engaging in proactive strategic thinking. This means that they are also more likely to be overlooked when it comes to promotions and career advancement opportunities in their workplace. For this reason, prioritising regular holiday breaks should be a routine part of your career progression plan. 

In a nutshell, meaningful holiday times are fundamental to a holistic health and safety approach, and should be a priority within any workplace. For more information on the science behind this, please read the Forbes article here.

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