Published on August 8, 2017, at 12:15 p.m.
by Katie McKinzey
As a public relations intern this summer, I have been introduced to the “real life” 8-to-5 workday and then some. After a long day’s work, I am usually pretty worn out. My routine of waking up early for work and then coming home to find more things I need to do on my to-do list leaves me ready for the weekend. But then when the weekend rolls around, I still find myself having to go and do. I think to myself, “Wouldn’t a vacation be so nice?”
Constantly going and doing can lead to stress. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary definition, stress is “a state resulting from a stress; especially one of bodily or mental tension resulting from factors that tend to alter an existent equilibrium, an example being job-related stress.”
“Bodily or mental tension” in the definition above tells us that stress affects us both physically and mentally. Studies have also shown that a vacation is vital to keep us healthy, both mentally and physically. A study from Project Time Off.com estimated that HR managers believe using vacation time leads to higher performance by 75 percent and increased job satisfaction by 78 percent. I would like to introduce to you the need, not just the want, for a mini-vacation getaway.
A blog from Psychology Today shares the importance of a vacation to our physical and mental health and six ways we can benefit from having a getaway. Although we may not be dealing with mega stress, little stresses from our home or from our office can build up. Having a getaway can help increase the productivity of the way we perform our job.
Anna Ruth Williams, founder and CEO of ARPR and an ’06 University of Alabama graduate, recently led her team on a company trip as a getaway celebration for the company’s fifth birthday. She said the ARPR leadership team knew they should celebrate in a big way.
“We wanted to say thank you to our team who propels what’s possible every day. We just got back from Cabo, and the trip was everything we hoped for — the ultimate team-bonding experience, full of reflection and celebration,” Williams said.
“At ARPR we have five ‘Spirited Ideals,’ and one of them is ‘Celebrate Success,’ Williams explained. “Whether big or small, we believe every accomplishment should be celebrated with the same vigor that went into the achievement.”
Williams noted that “turning five was a milestone” for the company.
“For starters, only 50 percent of businesses make it to their fifth anniversary,” she said. “Moreover, only 2 percent of women-owned businesses reach $1 million in revenue — we did that in three years and continue to grow 45 percent year-over-year while the average agency grows only 11 percent year-over-year.”
Most think the PR world is all hustle and bustle with no time for breaks. Colleen Pinto is a senior account manager at ARPR who specializes in “leading and servicing PR, content, digital and marketing activations for global B2B and B2C technology brands in the healthIT and mobile industries.”
She too went on the company trip to Cabo, as well as at the beginning of this year, she took a half-month off to travel the world. She was at her three-year mark working for ARPR, and while she had taken time off, she had not had a solid two week break since college. Being in her mid-20s, she decided it was time to follow her desire to travel the world.
“At least once a year, a week-long break is good to take to help you recharge,” Pinto said. “Going off the grid and putting down your phone leaves you feeling stress free.”
Pinto also talked about the importance of weekend getaways. She said she feels recharged after taking a few days away from the office and that shorter getaways make it easier to return to work. She suggested taking a Monday off.
“You will come back with lots of emails, but that’s how PR is — you come back in and pick back up,” Pinto said. “Taking personal days is what helps me the most, and I come back feeling like I can tackle things head on.”
A Forbes article shared a new study with productivity statistics from professionals taking a vacation. A key finding from the study that was shared: “If employees would take just one additional day of earned leave each year, the result would mean $73 billion in output for the U.S. economy and positive impacts for both employees and businesses.”
Taking a getaway is important. Whether it is one whole week or one whole day, taking time off to recharge and regroup is helpful, both mentally and physically. It can bring positive effects to your work and home environment, making you want to be more productive and organized when you get back to work.
“PR can be tough, but if you’re in the right environment with the right people who have your back, it is possible,” Pinto said.