Robert Voltmann 
President & CEO
Transportation Intermediaries Association

Every business leader knows that you can never really get away. You can’t leave your phone at home, ignore email, and escape to a desert island without internet for two weeks. As a business owner or leader, there are things that you must take care of.

But, there is great value in stepping away from the day-to-day. The time away gives you time to recharge. Time away gives you the opportunity to relax and think about a problem from a different angle. Big ideas ripen slowly. God knew that we needed time away, that’s why He invented the weekend. My wife questions whether I ever truly take a vacation since I still end up thinking about work. But it’s different.

Googling, “Why you should take vacation?” resulted in more than 1.1 million items. For example, last November, The Economic Times listed these reasons we should take a vacation: to reduce stress, increase our health, increase productivity, invest in ourselves, experience new vistas and ideas, have real family time, learn, and be creative.

For me, if we’re traveling overseas, time zones do the work. If we’re six or more hours apart, it creates a natural limitation to being plugged in. If I’m in the United States, I put the phone in the drawer and check it in the morning and before cocktails. That’s plenty of time to keep up with what’s going on (and even offer uninvited opinions) but still have therapeutic separation and time away.

Time away benefits everyone. There are even good business reasons why your people should take vacation. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, “one of the many basic tenets of internal control is that a banking organization ensures that employees in sensitive positions be absent from their duties for a minimum of two consecutive weeks. Such a requirement enhances the viability of a sound internal control environment because most frauds or embezzlements require the continual presence of the wrongdoer.” Absent bad actors, studies have shown that happy employees are 20 percent more effective, and happy sales people can be as much as 37 percent more productive!

A Harvard Business Review article, “The Data-Driven Case for Vacation”,  pointed to all the time-saving technologies that keep us tethered to work rather than letting us enjoy leisure. The article’s authors quote a major social media app’s spokesperson asking an audience if they remembered the last time they were bored with nothing to do? He then said, “You’re welcome.” The HBR authors write, “All of us are too steeped in a productivity culture to value doing nothing…but we’re losing out on crucial recovery time that our bodies and brains need – which is why vacations are so very important.” Business leaders and decision makers need time to recharge and keep things in perspective. This is a marathon, not a sprint.

So, whether it’s the beach, mountains, boat, lake, or ashram – unplug for a while, get outside, interact with family, read a book or two, soak up some sun, de-stress, revive, see something new, wonder