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Woke up, fell out of bed,
Dragged a comb across my head
Found my way downstairs and drank a cup,
And looking up I noticed I was late.
Found my coat and grabbed my hat
Made the bus in seconds flat….

When Sir Paul McCartney wrote these lyrics, he was remembering what it was like to run up the road to catch a bus to school, having a smoke and going into class. It was a reflection of his school days.

Those same lyrics got me to thinking about what it was like for me my first job after college. Graduation over, new job in an office and it’s summer. That I would getting ready to go to work, rushing to grab a cup of coffees, running for a train. And the realization hit me that I would be looking out at summer from an office window and dreaming of weekends.

 Of course, this contrasts dramatically from college where once summer rolled around you had time off and weekends were like any other day of the week. Once you graduated and got a job, well, graduates today do not get a three-month vacation. This work life typically provides one to two weeks off during the course of an entire year.

Interestingly employees do not take full advantage of getting away from work, especially in the summer. One reason appears to be that Americans are too scared to go on vacation. Scared meaning that they dread the pile of work awaiting them when they return. And many more really believe that no one else can do what they do at the office. Most telling, more than 20 percent of workers said one of the main reasons they aren’t taking all of their vacation days is because they don’t want to appear replaceable. Compound this with the fact that based on our corporate culture our perception that being away from work means we’re bad employees. It’s no wonder that vacations are declining in popularity 

 If you keep pushing yourself and you keep becoming exhausted, you’re going to become more distant and less caring which can be a major issue for companies since many jobs require workers to show up with the capacity to contribute intellectually and creatively.

The U.S is the only advanced economy that doesn’t require companies to give paid vacation days

One survey says  40% of executives think employees would be more productive if they took more vacations, while only 9% think productivity would “decrease significantly.” Yet companies and bosses don’t do much to encourage workers to take time off, even if it could make them more productive to come back refreshed after a few days away.

 Companies that use extra vacation time to build loyalty and improve productivity are becoming more prominent. A company in Denver is offering to pay their employees to take a vacation. Bart Lorang, CEO of Full Contact, which produces software to manage address books, needs to attract and keep software engineers in a very competitive market, so he came up with the vacation payday brainstorm

 Vacations actually increase productivity. Humans are simply more productive when rested. Researcher Mark Rosekind of Alertness Solutions found that the respite effect of a vacation can increase performance by 80%. Reaction times of returning vacationers increased 40% in his study. Brains and bodies need to be refueled, recharged and maintained. This increases physical vitality and mental focus.

So it’s summer delegate and plan ahead , don’t rush for the bus or the train,, take more of your own vacation time.

 I invite you to share your summertime experiences or thoughts, or comments. You can  email or call me for more information on soft skills/interpersonal skills workshops that can transform employees.