Everyone is taking less vacation time, during the pandemic. This is a fact, we all figure why should I take time off of work when I have nowhere to go. You are also likely trying to catch up financially from the time that you were off in the spring. For these two reasons working straight through without a break makes sense but the argument is then what is it costing you to work without vacation time?
Your Body Needs a Break
The first cost is very obvious, dentistry is a very physical profession where your day is spent in contorted positions for long periods of time without a break. Your body can become sore very easily and it will become a chronic problem for you, if it isn’t already. You should ensure that you are regularly doing exercises and movement that will counterbalance the daily strain on your body and seek the help of a professional to keep your back, shoulders and neck in prime condition. One of the reasons we crave vacation is that our body is asking us for a break, somehow those aches and pains can either melt away completely or at least subside when we move away from the chair for a week or so.
Your Stress Levels are Rising
The second cost of not taking a vacation is your stress level. With vacation time we have the excitement and anticipation that starts with the planning which leads into the preparation to taking time off. By the time you leave your office for vacation your anticipation level is usually quite high. You have an enjoyable week doing whatever activity you have picked out and you come back to the office relaxed and ready for a fresh start. You are always more approachable and relaxed after a vacation, everyone can actually feel it.
Your Relationships are Important
The third cost of not taking a vacation is the cost on your relationships. If your body is sore and your work stress level hasn’t been relieved in a while you may not realize it but others around you likely do realize that you are in need of a vacation. You may think that you are doing fine but if you ask for feedback you may find a different story. Asking for and listening to feedback is never easy. Ask your team and ask whoever you live with a simple question “On a scale of one to ten how are things going with me right now?” If their answer isn’t a ten then ask the next question “What would it take to make it a ten?” Reflect on their answers and determine if you should be booking some time off in the near future.
Most offices at this point are exceeding their Pre-COVID production. You can never physically make up for your lost production over COVID. You can ensure that you are receiving your share of the government subsidies being offered currently, your accountant will be able to help you apply for these. The subsidies coupled with your current production will ensure that your bills are paid, and you can take time away from your office.
The look of time away is very different now, if you are going to sit at home, be bored and stressed then you may as well be in the office being stressed. Look for some out of the box solutions, rent a place for a week in an area you haven’t been before and go exploring, take that driving trip that you always said you wanted to do. You can book into a spa for a few days and enjoy all of their amenities without having to leave the property. Ultimately, change your routine to enjoy a fresh perspective.
When you return to the office check what your production per hour was when you had a patient in the chair (this excludes any open or fallow time) prior to your time off and then measure it for the week after you return, I can almost promise you that you will see a positive change in the outcome. Time away from the office will improve your physical self and your mental self along with your production. Who could ask for a better ROI (Return on Investment) from a decision you have made?