Holiday is a restoring thing which by a blast of magic turns a man back into himself ~ GK Chesterton

There are martyrs in every office. You know the ones that I am talking about. The ones that tell you ‘I’ve only had one day off this year. I have almost all of my holiday entitlement left but we are just so busy and they can’t do without me so it will just have to wait.’

In their heads they are serving their executives and going above and beyond. Surely their selflessness will be recognised and they will be rewarded for going the extra mile?

But the truth is that the end of the year comes and they are frazzled. They are not functioning properly, are tearful, exhausted and ineffective.

There is a reason that that our companies give us vacation time away from our offices. It is so that we can recoup, rest our brains and come back refreshed, ready to go again.

I am a great believer that if you don’t make time for recreation then ultimately you will need to make time for illness. Not taking time out is self-defeating. It can lead to burnout and misery for the whole office. After all, the office relies on you to set the tone and maintain stability.

One of the best pieces of advice I was ever given was from my father, a high powered TV Executive. He told me that he always put his holiday dates for the year into his diary first thing in January so that he (and everyone else) knew when he would be out of the office well in advance. By spreading the dates throughout the year he knew that he always had time off to look forward to – and at regular intervals. It is a lesson that has stood me in good stead.

I am hugely blessed to travel the world as I do. The last 12 months have seen me visit 29 countries – some of them several times.

However, I always make time at Christmas, Easter and during the Summer to return to my apartment in Javea, Spain. It means that for most of the year I can work flat out at doing what I love but then return to Spain to recuperate, rest and plan for the next phase. Some of our best ideas have come out of my ‘downtime’. It gives me space to step back, look at the business from afar and get creative as well as ensuring that I maintain my equilibrium and continue to be able to work in a meaningful way for the rest of the year.

I have no pity for those that fall by the wayside because of martyrdom. Not taking your vacation allowance is foolish at best.

Don’t stint. Get your time away booked in.


Lucy Brazier, OBE is one of the world’s leading authorities on the administrative profession. Author of ‘The Modern-Day Assistant: Build Your Influence and Boost Your Potential’, she is the CEO of Marcham Publishing, a global force synonymous with world- ... (Read More)

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