How to Take Time Off and Unplug to Recharge Your Career

In today’s hyper-connected world, many accounting and finance employees consider staying in touch 24/7 to be a job requirement. However, you're really better off when you take regular work vacations and time off throughout the year.

Financial executives may be taking time off, a Robert Half survey shows, but 68 percent of CFOs said they're in touch with the office at least once a week while on vacation, a 20-point increase from a similar survey three years ago.

Find out whether employees feel they get adequate time off to recharge or if, as another Robert Half survey suggests, they're feeling Vacation Vexation.

Stressing at the thought of leaving your job temporarily behind? Read on to learn why it’s beneficial to your career for you to relax, let go and take time off from the clock.

1. Breaks increase productivity, creativity 

Quick breaks, even while working on a stressful assignment, can help you maintain focus and renew creativity. Needless to say, time off can help you feel more refreshed and rested when you return to your desk for another round of financial reports. If you’d like to increase your productivity by stepping away for a moment,consider the following options:

  • Grab a healthy smoothie, herbal tea, light snack or glass of water
  • Listen to your favorite song (with headphones!)
  • Socialize with a coworker, but make sure you’re not interrupting his workday
  • Reorganize your work space and remove some clutter
  • Meditate or practice deep breathing techniques
  • Take a brisk walk around your office or outside if space is available

3. Time off helps you maintain work-life balance

France is considering legislation to give workers the "right to disconnect" from incessant work emails outside of their contracted hours. The agreement may represent the ideal of separating work from personal life, but it's unlikely to follow suit in the U.S. Still, when you feel tempted to reach for your phone or computer when you should be taking time off after hours, remember that poor work-life balance can drain your energy and make you less productive the following day.

Many companies offer alternative work arrangements such as a compressed workweek to help employees more effectively handle personal responsibilities without falling behind at work.


While there are bound to be a few nights or weekends when urgent accounting and finance work matters require your attention, if you find job duties increasingly encroaching on your home life after hours, consider exploring your company's options for flexible hours or telecommuting. Many companies offer alternative work arrangements such as a compressed workweek to help employees more effectively handle personal responsibilities without falling behind at work.

Think you may need to find a new company to get the time off you deserve? Take a quick finance job search to see what's out there.

3. Work vacations are rejuvenating

Just as taking short breaks during your workday can boost productivity, getting away from the office for vacation can help you rejuvenate and keep you from burning out. Accounting and finance employees who avoid going on work vacations run the risk of increased stress, exhaustion, illness and burnout.

You can set yourself up for a successful vacation with these tips:

  • Plan ahead. Let your manager know when you’re expecting to take time off, and try to avoid being on vacation during your company's busy seasons or special projects that may require an all-hands-on-deck approach.
  • Set an “out of the office” message on your email and voicemail, and stick to it.
  • Work with your manager to ensure your duties are covered while you are away on vacation.
  • Resist the urge to check in while you’re out of the office, which can send the message that you aren’t taking full advantage of your vacation time to recharge or that you are available to respond to requests.

Even the busiest accounting and finance professionals deserve to take breaks, so make sure you set aside time to energize and unwind regularly. When you step back into the office, you’ll probably hit the ground running with renewed energy, and that may bring big payoffs to your career.

More to read about the value of time off

Editor's note: This post was originally published in 2014 and was updated in 2016 to reflect more current information.