According to a colleague, Joe Robinson, author of Work to Live and an expert in work/life balance issues shared this information with me: --Vacations are as important to your health as watching your cholesterol or getting exercise. Vacations have been shown to reduce the risk of heart attack in men by 30%, in women by 50%. A simple annual vacation can do all that! Pretty productive. --Vacations can cure burnout, the last stage of chronic stress and very difficult to get rid of. But it takes two weeks for that process to occur. The standard vacation in the US is down to a long weekend. (I was on a radio show in Wisconsin and a doctor called in to say that 90%, that's 90%, of her patients had wasted adrenal glands from chronic stress. Vacations are a pretty cheap solution to that.) --For companies, job performance increases after a vacation. No surprise, since in the knowledge economy the source of true productivity is a refreshed and energized mind. --Companies that have increased their vacation policies to three weeks have seen profits jump 15% to 50%, while slashing retention problems--and the need for overtime at one firm. For companies, vacations are supposed to be a "planned absence," except that nobody plans them. What makes Australian and European vacations work is that they're planned at the beginning of the year and figured into the workflow of the operations. They also use cross-training. When vacations are planned and covered for, they're not interruptive. Something to think about!