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More vacation = better work?

someone at the beach with their blackberry phone outThe American Dream is to work hard and get rewarded for it. As we increasingly work right up until the holidays and bring our work home via our smartphones, it seems that “vacation” is a thing of the past.

But you could actually get more work done by taking more time off.

Reports Bloomberg News: “Leslie Perlow and Jessica Porter of Harvard Business School…conducted a study wherein a Boston-based company provided two control groups. The first worked long hours…skipped part of their vacations and were constantly on call. The second worked a [shorter] week, took full vacations, and left their BlackBerrys at the office.”

As expected, the group who worked less were happier with their jobs and life. But the kicker is this: “the time-off control group also reported increased learning and development and better communication with their teams and, most surprisingly, they actually produced more total output than their workaholic colleagues.”

one bulldog sitting, one laying on it's backIn the words of the inimitable Keanu Reeves: woah.

This theory plays out if you look at productivity and vacations internationally. French workers, for example, have an average of 40 vacation days a year, yet they are 98.2 percent as effective as the U.S. But we average about 10 vacation days a year. Ouch.

So, while we all like to wear our “hard worker” badge, think about taking some real off-the-grid time this holiday season. Just make sure you have an off-hours escalation process (we shared ours last week) and a holiday schedule, so your customers don’t suffer!

Blackberry photo courtesy of AnaChristina.
Bulldog photo courtesy of emerille.