We don’t need to remind anyone how challenging the last 17 months have been, nor mention yet again ‘unprecedented times’ and the many versions of normal that may exist. The striking reality is that we’ve all experienced it – and now, here we are with a much brighter light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. The same bright light that mirrors the sun. It’s summertime!!

While North Americans tend to work a lot at the best of times, during the pandemic, employees took less time off than ever before (and those with forced time off were rarely able to enjoy it). This was due, in part, to not being able to go anywhere/do what they wanted with the time, being at home and so working anyway, and for many, increased workload as a result of navigating a different way of working. This, coupled with the impact of COVID and other significant realities, has led to an increasing level of burnout. And, while we’re all looking forward to full restriction removal, with September being ‘back to the office’ for many, a whole new set of stressors arises. For these reasons – and because it’s summer! – it’s important that you and your employees take time off, and truly disconnect.

As many of us at Jouta make/begin our summertime plans to get away, we and many of our clients have indicated a strong need to truly disengage and be fully off the grid. Like so many, we’ve previously tended to stay connected while on vacation due to a desire to support our clients and ensure they have what they need, when they need it. But the questions to ask are: at what cost, and are we truly serving our clients, customers and/or members as well as we can if we don’t take the time we need for ourselves?

No matter what we tell ourselves (e.g., “I’d rather just stay across things, so I don’t come back to an onslaught”; “I’ll just quickly check in”), not disconnecting doesn’t allow your brain, body and being to truly rest. Quickly checking email for a few moments is enough to increase cortisone levels and put you on a path of worrying or thinking about work for the rest of the day, regardless of what you’re doing. So even while you’re doing fun, adventurous, or restful things with your body, your brain is actively thinking about work – which isn’t a vacation. The result is that upon your physical return to work, eventually, motivation wanes, productivity slips, and burnout/health problems are more likely to arise. Even the best performers can’t stay on top forever, and expecting them to stay connected will, over time, backfire. Not taking vacation doesn’t make better performers, nor should it be the hallmark of one. It will come back to haunt them, and your business.

The above said, all of us at Jouta are taking time off this summer, primarily sticking around in BC with a variety of excursions such as island/coast hopping, mountain biking in Northern BC, exploring the city on a new bike, visiting family, and hosting visitors in our hometowns. We encourage you and your teams to follow suit, and strongly encourage you to do what you can to support full disconnection.