Jul 14 2020

Vacation in the time of Covid

I’ve written a few times about the importance of taking vacation time and I had the opportunity to take most of the week off a few weeks ago. It was good but not great (and different than I expected). In the past when I’ve gone away on a trip, I’ve been successful at truly unplugging. But there’s no getting away during Covid. I imagine I’m not alone in this but I find that when I’m at home and taking time off it’s difficult to completely disconnect. That was true the other week – I was only able to do a fair job of avoiding work and almost felt guilty about setting an out of office on my email (I nearly forgot to do it, in fact – perhaps my subconscious pushing back on my taking the time in the first place).

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that fewer people are taking time off this year. Americans already have challenges with getting away and unplugging – apparently Covid is making that worse. I also suspect that when time off is taken, it’s less relaxing and less of a real break (I’m projecting here, clearly, but I have heard stories from others who have tried to get some time away during the pandemic that recounted similar challenges).

I don’t have the answer but the reason I’ve written about it a couple of times is that I think it’s a real issue. We need to think about ways other than just creating long weekends for ourselves and our employees to take time away and be disengaged from work. Maybe others won’t struggle the way that I have with taking “staycation” but I suspect that many will.

I think this is something we should be paying attention to. People are already stressed and stretched – finding ways to recharge is especially important now. If anyone has any ideas or strategies for themselves or their teams, I’d love to hear about them in comments.

Also published on Medium.