The Importance of Time Off from Work

Author: Teresa Bitetti, President, Global Oncology Business Unit | Published: Aug 21 2021

By Teresa Bitetti, President, Global Oncology Business Unit

This article originally appeared on LinkedIn on August 19, 2021

I’ve always been a firm believer in the power of personal time off. I recently went on vacation and returned feeling completely revitalized. I find that this personal time away gives me a fresh perspective, renewed energy and space to think more creatively.

Throughout the pandemic, we at Takeda Oncology have prioritized making folks feel connected – whether it’s Zoom baby showers, virtual fitness challenges or online coffee chats – but it’s just as important to empower our colleagues to disconnect as well. Results from our employee survey at the end of 2020 produced a 78 percent favorability score when it comes to feeling a strong sense of connection at work. This is in contrast to research which found that workplace connections at many companies have suffered.1 Unsurprisingly, however, more than half of respondents reported that they felt it’s been a struggle to disconnect and make time for rest. From my perspective, taking that time for yourself has never been more important.

At Takeda Oncology, we aspire to cure cancer and transform lives. To do that well, we need to take time to care for ourselves. Research shows that meaningful, well-planned vacation time underpins health, as well as productivity.2,3 And that extends beyond the traditional summer vacation. Start thinking about a long weekend in the fall or how you’re going to spend the winter holidays. Here are a few things colleagues can do to infuse new energy throughout the year. 

  • Visit family and friends: Part of the reason I was so excited to join Takeda Oncology was the opportunity to relocate to the Boston area, closer to my family. Still, the stresses of COVID made seeing them regularly difficult. Now that my five sisters and I are all vaccinated, I’ve made a point to visit each of them and their families in the past few months. I hope everyone who has been separated from those they’re closest with finds the time to reunite, virtually or in person.
  • Go on an adventure: I can spend hours getting lost on VRBO planning getaways. I’ve personally been dreaming of Italy for years! There’s never been a better time to check something off your bucket list – that could be a bike tour through a winery or visiting a tourist spot in your own community (Swan Boats, anyone?). If travel isn’t feasible with COVID-restrictions, it may still be possible to plan an escape in a socially-distanced outdoor location. For me, the benefits drawn from a simple change of scenery cannot be overstated.
  • Have a "Staycation": I recognize that many areas are still observing social distancing guidelines and travel restrictions. So find a quiet place at home to read that book that’s been sitting on your nightstand, or try a new hobby. In such difficult times, unplugging isn’t always easy, but I do encourage everyone to take time off, wherever that may be.

Whatever you decide to do with your personal time off, please take it. Self care is so important, particularly during the pandemic. I also urge all that can get vaccinated for COVID-19 to do so as soon as possible. So please, take the time to relax, recharge and take care of yourself!

References

  1. Kitto K. Workplace Connections Begin to Suffer: How Employees Are Feeling During the Pandemic [Internet]. Glint. 2020 [cited 2021Jul16]. Available from: https://www.glintinc.com/blog/workplace-connections-begin-to-suffer-how-employees-are-feeling-during-the-pandemic/ 
  2. Strauss-Blasche G, Reithofer B, Schobersberger W, Ekmekcioglu C, Marktl W. Effect of vacation on health: moderating factors of vacation outcome. J Travel Med. 2005 Mar-Apr;12(2):94-101. doi: 10.2310/7060.2005.12206. PMID: 15996454.
  3. Sonnentag S, Arbeus H, Mahn C, Fritz C. Exhaustion and lack of psychological detachment from work during off-job time: moderator effects of time pressure and leisure experiences. J Occup Health Psychol. 2014 Apr;19(2):206-16. doi: 10.1037/a0035760. Epub 2014 Mar 17. PMID: 24635737.