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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, July 02, 2017 1:00 am

Even if it's 'staycation,' time off is beneficial

LISA GREEN | The Journal Gazette

While some of us are counting down the days until we next head to the beach – or some other special spot – others are refusing to relinquish the work routine.

Nearly half of Americans don't plan on taking vacation this summer, according to results of a poll Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research released last month.

One commonly cited reason for the vacation reluctance was the cost of a getaway, poll results showed. But even those with paid vacation – 14 percent – opted out of taking time off. And just half of those with paid vacation used all or most of the days they were entitled in the past year.

That's not good.

Everybody needs some down time.

More workers might take vacation days if some of their leaders really felt comfortable disconnecting. But some can tell from nearly around-the-clock emails that rarely happens. The ease of mobile communication keeps many managers plugged in at all hours. For some jobs, it comes with the territory. For others, it may just be habit and convenience.

But it can't hurt to stay away from the office sometimes.

And that's not to downplay any financial concerns that may make taking a trip a stretch. But we've all heard the word “staycation.” Those can be relatively inexpensive; it's just a matter of interests and perhaps a bit of creativity.

Around the same time Associated Press released the results of the its poll, an email from Mary Legakis Engel, CEO and founder of The Management Coach, showed up. Taking vacation might be one of the best things you can do for your career this summer, the email suggested, and provided several reasons.

Productivity might actually increase when employees have a chance to get away and refresh. Plus, the email noted that some of the “greatest levels of genius and innovation” come when we have a chance to “silence” our mind – winding down from the distractions and flurry of activity that occupy our thoughts non-stop.

Another advantage, Engel's email notes, is that when people take vacation it provides another opportunity for someone else on a team to step up.

“Letting others be responsible while you are away is a great way to build not only their skills, but also their self-worth,” the email said.

If you're fortunate enough to get paid time off, go ahead … take it.

Challenging personalities

You may have heard references about challenging personalities at work. Jody Foster and Michelle Joy are a bit more blunt: some people are just “schmucks.”

Foster and Joy are the co-authors of a book released this spring titled “The Schmuck in My Office: How to Deal Effectively with Difficult People at Work.”

The book delves into 10 major types of difficult workers, including the narcissus – the condescending attention-seeker who carelessly steps on everyone's toes – and the “flytraps” – the ones that bring chaos and exhibit the kind of emotional instability that causes an office maelstrom.

Foster and Joy explore the various personality traits and how dysfunctional interactions among co-workers can lead to workplace fiascos.

According to a tease for the book, readers might learn to “understand and empathize with schmucks as people, figure out how to work with them, and ultimately solve workplace problems.”

To share a thought, a favorite quote or other wisdom about leadership, email Lisa Green at Lead On also appears online as a blog at