How to ask your boss for vacation time so you can rest and recharge

working on beach computer vacation
Don’t be afraid to ask for time off.

  • Employees are taking less time off during the pandemic.
  • Paid leave is essential for employees to get a break from their daily grind.
  • When asking for PTO, have an explicit conversation with your boss and ask guardrail questions.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Employees are taking less time off during the pandemic.

Companies are struggling, and that means employees feel anxious about taking time off. Plus, the pandemic means employees can’t travel. Some employers have invested in mental health days or mandated time off, to help encourage workers to take time to rest.

Paid leave is essential for employees to get a break from their daily grind. Time off relaxes and replenishes workers, and improves productivity when they return to the job.

According to US Travel, average vacation days in America began to decline in 1993, from around 20 days used per year to an all-time low in 2014 of 16.2 days used per year. Since then, however, Americans have taken more paid time off, bringing the average up to 16.8 days used per year.

America is still nowhere near Europe’s generous vacation policies. According to a column in the Economist, European workers typically get much of August off, while Americans struggle with the idea of taking a week off here and there. But such short vacations are not always healthy, says the magazine. A simple long-weekend trip “risks adding to the stress, as a high proportion of the vacation period is spent travelling to and from the desired destination. No sooner do you arrive than you have to think about packing for the trip back.”

Some people dread asking for time off, and assume taking less time off is expected of them, according to Joseph Grenny, co-founder of VitalSmarts and co-author of The New York Times best-seller, “Crucial Conversations.”

Grenny previously spoke to Insider about the best ways to ask for PTO, and how to get it.

Have an explicit discussion with your boss

One of the most important aspects, according to Grenny, is having explicit conversations where you find out exactly what’s expected of you.

When Grenny started VitalSmarts three decades ago, he knew that he and his three co-founders would be racing to be the guy who worked the hardest. “We’d look at each other 20 years later and have our kids calls us ‘Uncle Dad,'” Grenny said. “We didn’t want that, so we had a very explicit discussion early on.”

Make sure to have an open discussion with your employer about how much time off is expected from employees, and if workers are required to answer emails while they’re away.

Make sure you know what the company’s expectations are

Grenny warned that many employees take less time off because they assume it’s the norm, and as a result, they let their vacation days go to waste.

“You need to figure out what you’re comfortable with, and conversations are the vehicle for establishing expectations with others,” said Grenny. “If you don’t let [your boss and coworkers] express it to you explicitly, sometimes you hold yourself to a standard that they don’t expect, and you end up taking less advantage of some of these generous policies than you could.”

Ask guardrail questions

If you’re a new hire, asking general questions about vacation time can help you out later on when it’s time to ask for time off yourself.

Grenny gave sample questions to ask your boss: “How does it typically work? What do people typically do? Can you give examples of people who have abused it? So now I know what both normal looks like and what abuse looks like, and I can find my way in between those two guardrails.”

Watch for norms

Watching for norms is one of the easiest ways to figure out the right time and place for asking for PTO.

“See if you can get a sense for what the norms are for the people around you,” Grenny said. “What kind of rhythms do they use? What lengths of vacation? How much time away?”

According to Grenny, it’s important to make a mental note of how present other employees are while they’re on vacation. “What boundaries does the workplace tend to honor in terms of when you’re out? Are you really out, or do they intrude on your time for conference calls and for brief tasks?”

If you’re a new hire, earn social capital

If you’re new to the workforce, or if you’re a new hire, make sure you’re asking for PTO once you’ve earned it.

Grenny emphasized the importance of earning your place in the company before going on vacation. “I think it is important to be sensitive to earning social capital before you draw down on it,” he said. “Realize that the first thing you need to demonstrate is that you care about the problems, issues, and concerns of the workplace. And once you’ve demonstrated that, then you have something to draw down on.”

Assume that your company wants you to take time off

There’s no need to leave your vacation days untouched.

“I think the norm these days is that people want you recharged,” Grenny said. “People recognize that we’re complex human beings. For many of us [work] is a 24/7 thing because electronics intrude so much in our lives, so when we’re away, we need to be away.”

Don’t race to the bottom

Grenny described his past experience with the dangers of observing norms without talking directly to the boss, where employees took less and less time off, thinking they were benefiting the company. Grenny called this a “race to the bottom.”

“I’ve worked with many senior leaders in organizations that realize that they have a toxic culture that grinds people down, and that they need to have boundaries of going out and rejuvenating themselves,” he said. “People are operating on assumed norms rather than actual norms.”

Ivan de Luce contributed to an earlier version of this article.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Britons will soon go on holiday again. Hotel and B&B owners tell guests to expect strict rules around face masks, eating areas, and social distancing – but vaccines won’t be mandatory

People sit in deckchairs on the beach as they enjoy the warm weather on the seafront on July 30, 2014 in Weymouth, England.
People sit in deckchairs on the beach as they enjoy the warm weather on the seafront on July 30, 2014 in Weymouth, England.

  • Hotels, B&Bs and holiday parks in the UK told Insider how they’re preparing for guests this summer.
  • Over 27.6 million Brits have had at least one shot but hotel owners said this won’t be mandatory.
  • Holiday parks will be opening April 12, while hotels and B&Bs will accept guests from May 17.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The holiday season is nearly upon us. But there’s speculation about whether people in the UK will be able to travel abroad due to the increased worry of coronavirus variants spreading and cases rising.

This uncertainty, along with COVID-19 restrictions, is turning more people towards domestic holidays to visit the British coastline, country parks and smaller towns and cities.

In accordance with UK government guidelines, hotels, bed and breakfasts (B&Bs) and other shared accommodation in England are allowed to open on May 17. This is the same date that international travel can continue.

While self-contained accommodation, which requires no shared facilities between guests, can reopen on April 12.

Insider spoke to a range of hotels, holiday parks and B&Bs, which are preparing for guests to come back and how their facilities will be run differently.

Vaccines won’t be mandatory

A plane passes over the Travelodge Hotel at Heathrow.
A plane passes over the Travelodge Hotel at Heathrow.

So far, more than 30 million people in the UK have received at least one dose of the vaccine but most owners said they won’t make this a requirement for guests.

Travelodge, an independent UK chain hotel, which has more than 570 hotels across the UK, currently only allows keyworkers and those who need to travel for work to stay in its hotels, a spokesperson told Insider.

When asked if Travelodge will make the vaccine mandatory for guests, the spokesperson said: “We will continue to stringently follow government guidelines and policy in regards to operating in the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Currently, the government does not require hotel guests to be vaccinated.

The situation is similar in holiday parks. Centre Parcs, which has five short-break holiday villages across the UK, will open on April 12 and have the same COVID-19 safety measures it had in place last year, spokesperson Simon Kay told Insider.

“In line with government guidelines we will not be requiring guests to have been vaccinated,” he said.

Haven Holidays, another chain of holiday parks in the UK, told Insider it’s planning to reopen all of its locations on April 12. A company spokesperson said the government haven’t sent Haven any details about COVID-19 passports and declined to comment on the implementation of them.

Hazelwood Farm
Hazelwood Farm

Hazelwood Farm B&B in York, in northern England, will also be carrying on with coronavirus measures. The owner, Annette McAnespie described making the vaccine mandatory as a “Catch 22 situation” and could be “construed as discriminatory.”

“I am lucky in that most of my gorgeous guests are retirement age so the stats are that most of them would have chosen to have had the vaccine and would have had their first jab, if not their second one too, by the time I can reopen,” McAnespie said.

At the other end of the country, the Penellen B&B, based in Cornwall – a popular holiday destination in south-west England – will open on May 17th with COVID-19 practices that were in place last year.

Paul and Barbara Goldingay, owners of The Penellen, told Insider that they are not making the vaccine mandatory because it would be too difficult to police.

Face masks stay on and social distancing remains

Haven Holidays' employee
Haven Holidays’ employee

Travelodge said, like many other chain hotels, its safety measures include wearing face masks indoors, social distancing, contactless payment and checkout, and no housekeeping teams in guests’ rooms during their stay.

The Penellen and Hazelwood Farm’s coronavirus measures both include wearing face masks.

McAnespie is using two out of the three rooms available on Hazelwood Farm. She plans to steam-clean the curtains and remove cushions from the bedrooms as part of the B&B’s coronavirus policy. She told Insider she hopes to see the back of restrictions in September.

Center Parcs has had a surge in bookings recently, especially from the summer onwards, according to Kay.

COVID-19 safety measures in its holiday parks include fewer guests on-site, wearing face masks where necessary, social distancing in all areas including on beaches and a frequent and improved cleaning regime in the villages.

Haven Holidays, which owns 40 parks across the UK, will bring back the Clean and Safe Charter that it introduced in July. This includes a contactless check-in process, social-distancing measures in all public places, and cleaning teams in the parks.

Eating and dining in accommodation

Haven Holidays
Haven Holidays

Guests staying in Travelodge hotels won’t be able to dine in the restaurants or bars until June 21, when the rest of hospitality is allowed to open, per the government’s roadmap out of lockdown.

Hazelwood Farm B&B in York isn’t offering its usual breakfast buffet. McAnespie told Insider guests’ cold breakfast orders will be taken the evening before and hot breakfast orders will be taken the same morning with the waitress, Nettie, standing at a distance.

She said the B&B will try to stagger breakfast times for the three rooms as there are only two tables in the dining room with the option to also sit outside. Continental breakfast can also be delivered to the room, as well as any other takeaways from local pubs in the area, McAnespie added.

The Penellen said it will also be serving guests at the table, rather than offering a buffet service.

Holidays parks such as Center Parcs and Haven Holidays offer self-catered accommodation so guests can cook for themselves.

Other restrictions in place

Center Parc Bispinger Heide is written on a sign in front of the park area
Center Parc Bispinger Heide is written on a sign in front of the park area

Center Parcs’ Book with Confidence guarantee offers guests free cancellation and a full refund within six weeks of the arrival date, if they decide to no longer go on holiday to the village. They can also change the dates of their stay.

“It is clear that people want reassurance about the flexibility to cancel or change dates,” said Kay.

As part of Haven’s Caravan Cleanliness Guarantee, a specialist team member checks each holiday home after its been disinfected using virus-killing products and seals up the door. Guests are entitled to a full refund if the holiday home isn’t cleaned to its standards, the company said in a statement to Insider.

Similar to Center Parcs, the company’s Coronavirus Book with Confidence Guarantee means guests can cancel their booking between three and 28 days prior to arrival at no cost and be fully refunded, Haven said.

Paul and Barbara from The Penellen said the majority of bookings for this year are rescheduled from last year.

Their “main worry is people from the UK going on holiday overseas and then returning carrying a new variant,” they said.

“In our opinion, all borders should be closed for non-essential travel for the time being,” they added.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Southwest Airlines has added new service to 2 hot vacation destinations ahead of the potential summer travel boom

Southwest Airlines
Southwest Airline.

  • Southwest Airlines will begin offering new services to Florida and Montana.
  • This includes Florida’s Destin-Fort Walton Beach and Montana’s Bozeman Yellowstone airports.
  • Southwest has been drastically expanding its flight services since last year.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Southwest Airlines will begin offering flights to Florida’s Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport and Montana’s Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport in May ahead of the potential summer travel boom.

Travel, especially by air, dropped significantly in 2020 as COVID-19 first began taking its hold on the US. But now, the travel and hospitality industry is hoping that pent-up demand and the continuing vaccine rollout will lead to a big spike in travel this summer. 

As a result, companies are gearing up for this potential boom, including Southwest Airlines. In the last year, Southwest has dramatically expanded its flight offerings with new services to locations like Palm Springs, California, Cozumel, Mexico, and Miami.

Now, the airline has added additional flights to two travel hotspots: Florida and Bozeman, Montana.

Bozeman, Montana – known as “Boz Angeles” – has become a hot destination, especially for wealthier travelers looking to trade city life for a break in nature. Bozeman also been named one of the fastest-growing cities in the US and offers close access to hotspots like Yellowstone National Park. 

This will be Southwest Airline’s first destination in Montana. Flights to Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport will take off from airports in Denver and Las Vegas starting at $40 beginning May 27.

On the opposite end of the climate spectrum, Florida has also emerged as a top travel destination during the COVID-19 pandemic due to its warm weather and more relaxed restrictions. Southwest already flies to 10 other airports in Florida but decided to expand its offerings in the state for “winter-weary families” looking to get away to warm destinations, Andrew Watterson, Southwest Airlines’ executive vice president and chief commercial officer, said in the press release.

Direct Southwest flights to Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport can be taken starting May 6 from these four airports: Dallas Love Field, Baltimore/Washington, Nashville, and Chicago Midway, the latter starting June 6. These flights will start at $70.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Miami is bracing for a flood of spring break travelers as hotel bookings soar

Spring break visitors on Miami Beach in 2017
Spring break visitors on Miami Beach in 2017.

  • Spring break travelers are flocking to Miami despite COVID-19.
  • Miami hotels are seeing 90% occupancy rates for weekend bookings during the spring break season.
  • However, spring break will look different this year due to safety protocols and restrictions.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Like every other event during COVID-19, this year’s spring break will look different from years’ past. But despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, springtime vacations in Miami are still on.

Similar to last year, Miami Beach has implemented COVID-19 safety protocols through spring break from February 22 through April 12. This includes a curfew in Miami-Dade County from 12 a.m. to 6 a.m, capacity limits on some public beaches, and an uptick in police presence. Alcohol consumption will also be banned from public beaches during this “high impact period.” 

However, these limitations aren’t stopping many travelers: Miami’s 2021 spring break season will likely be the busiest time for the city’s hotels since COVID-19 first hit the US, according to Wendy Kallergis, president and CEO of the Greater Miami and the Beaches Hotel Association.

Occupancy rates at Miami hotels are hitting all-time highs since the start of the pandemic

miami beach spring break
Miami Beach during spring break in 2017.

Jan Freitag – the national director for hospitality market analytics at STR, a hospitality data and analytics group – is predicting that Miami, and all of South Florida, will do “quite well” during the spring break travel season into the potential summer travel boom

Occupancy rates in Miami hotels grew from almost 42% in October 2020 to nearly 55% in January 2021, according to data from STR. During the week of Feb. 14 to Feb. 20, these rates skyrocketed to 76% – which was down 14% from the same week last year, just before the pandemic started impacting travel.

Now, hotels in Miami are looking at 90% occupancy rates for Thursday-through-Sunday stays during the spring break season, Kallergis told Insider.

Among those is Mint House, a business travel and tech-oriented hotel chain with two Miami locations that have been seeing “extremely high” occupancy rates ahead of the spring break season, Will Lucas, CEO and founder of Mint House, told Insider in an email statement.

In February, Mint House’s Miami hotels hit an occupancy rate of more than 95%. They’re now heading into March with a 70% rate, but Lucas expects them to push past 90% by the end of the month.

Both Miami locations are now booked every weekend through April 5. 

Differences compared to non-pandemic spring breaks

miami spring break 2020
Spring break in Miami in March 2020.

There will be some changes compared to previous Miami spring breaks, however. Events that have traditionally drawn people to the city – including Ultra Music Festival and large work conferences – have been canceled, which could decrease the number of springtime visitors. The county’s curfew could also put a damper on late-night beach parties, and many Miami hotels are still asking guests to wear masks. 

“If you are coming here with an anything-goes party attitude, change your flight reservation now and go to Vegas,” Raul Aguila, Miami Beach’s city manager, said during a city-council meeting, The Wall Street Journal reported. “Miami Beach is not going to tolerate anarchy.”

And the uptick in bookings may not be driven solely by college students, like in years past. Many students are still remote, and several colleges have taken precautionary steps to prevent the traditional “spring break” from happening.

Instead, Freitag thinks the surge in Miami bookings can be tied to “American consumers at large” looking to get out after being stuck at home for so long due to COVID-19.

Kallergis also predicts these travelers will be spending more time at their hotels’ pools, restaurants, bars, and patios instead of roaming around the city. 

“I think the hotels are ready,” Kallergis told Insider. “They’re definitely staffed up, and they’re hoping for even more business inside their properties.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Around-the-world cruises costing up to $500,000 are selling out 2 years in advance as eager travelers prepare for restrictions to lift

Oceania Cruises  insignia
Oceania Cruises’ Insignia ship.

  • As people anticipate an end to the COVID-19 pandemic, some cruises are selling out well in advance.
  • Monthlong trips with Oceania Cruises and Seabourn for 2023 have sold out.
  • Major US cruises are set to return no earlier than May. The CDC temporarily banned them last year.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Tickets for around-the-world cruises are selling out years ahead of their departure date as travelers anticipate the end of lockdowns and travel restrictions.

When Viking Ocean Cruises released tickets for a 136-day world cruise for late 2021, they sold out in weeks, Bloomberg first reported Monday. The same happened when it announced in December a second cruise to take place at the end of the year, Viking told the publication.

The ships for the two cruises – Viking Star and Viking Neptune – carry 930 passengers each but have left some rooms free for potential quarantine measures, the company told Bloomberg.

The company said it was planning another world-cruise itinerary for 2023, per Bloomberg.

“We are looking to open the next opportunity as quickly as we can,” Richard Marnell, the executive vice president of marketing for Viking, told Bloomberg.

The luxury cruise line Seabourn sold out all penthouse spa and premium suites on its 450-passenger Seabourn Sojourn for two world trips in 2022 and 2023, a company representative told Insider’s Brittany Chang in a statement Sunday. Couples are paying up to $500,000 for a five-month cruise, and the company had to recently open waiting lists, Bloomberg reported.

Oceania Cruises also sold out its 2023 “Around the World in 180 Days” cruise in 24 hours on January 27, Insider reported previously. The Insignia ship, which accommodates a maximum of 684 passengers, travels to five continents, including Antarctica, and 61 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Bob Binder, Oceania Cruises’ president and CEO, said in a statement that its quick sale time was due to “pent-up demand.”

Insider has reached out to Viking and Oceania Cruises for comment.

The high demand for tickets is a sign of hope for the struggling cruise industry, which was thrown into turmoil when COVID-19 spread across several ships last March.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people avoid traveling on cruise ships, which are especially susceptible to spreading COVID-19.

After the pandemic took hold in March, the CDC temporarily banned cruises in the US to curb the spread of the virus. But in October, the agency replaced its no-sail order with a “framework for Conditional Sailing Order” – a list of requirements necessary for cruise lines to continue sailing again.

The soonest any major US cruise is scheduled to operate is May. Carnival Cruises, Royal Caribbean, and Disney said they would resume sailing after May, while P&O Cruises has stopped all trips through April.

Since COVID-19 vaccines have been rolled out, several large cruise companies, including Carnival, Crystal Cruises, and Norwegian Cruises, have announced vaccine requirements for guests and staff members.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 5 best places to buy UPF sun protection clothing for hiking, fishing, boating & other outdoor adventurers

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

couple kayaking2
  • UPF clothing protects your covered skin from UV radiation while outside fishing, hiking, boating, and traveling.
  • Brands make everything from long sleeves to skirts to hats with UPF protection now.
  • L.L.Bean is our top pick for brands that sell sun protection clothing for its wide selection of well-made, attractive UPF clothing.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Most of us know that when we’re headed out for a beach day, backyard BBQs, home pool parties, or outdoor adventures, we need to slather on sunscreen to prevent a sunburn and minimize our risk for skin cancer. But skin protection goes beyond just lotion you rub on your exposed parts. The skin under your clothing while you’re out hiking or building sandcastles with your kids can still be exposed to harmful UV radiation.

That’s why sun-protective clothing and accessories should be a staple of your summer wardrobe. The Skin Cancer Foundation says that sun-protective long sleeves, shorts and pants, hats, neck gaiters, even gloves, are the most effective form of sun protection. These specially designed items feature tighter weaves than normal clothing which reduces the number of UVB and UVA rays that can penetrate through to your skin. Some brands, like Columbia Sportswear, also use proprietary tech for added features, like reflecting any lingering rays away from your skin.

How protective an item is is defined by its Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF). While Sun Protection Factor, or SPF, is measured by how long it will take for UV-exposed skin to redden, UPF indicates how much UVB and UVA can reach your skin through the fabric at hand, the Skin Cancer Foundation explains. The average cotton tee has a UPF of 5, which means the garment allows 95% of incoming UV rays to penetrate it, while an item with UPF 50+ only allows 2% of the sun’s rays to pass.

If you are an avid adventurer, chances are you already have some lightweight long sleeves or hiking pants with UPF features. But if you usually cover-up at the beach with a cotton long sleeve from the local gift shop, or you’re hiking in a generic workout top, you might need to up your UPF protection. Luckily, as outdoor adventures become more popular and more people are taking their fitness under the sun, a wide range of brands are designing clothing and accessories with built-in sun protection. To help you find the most stylish sun-smart offerings on the market, we’ve rounded up five fashionable brands that sell clothing with a minimum of UPF 50.

Here are the best sun protection clothing brands:

Best UPF clothing brand overall

L.L. Bean UPF shirt

L.L.Bean is a one-stop-shop for summer basics for both men and women, including button-up tops, trousers, shorts, tees, and even dresses that feature built-in UPF 50 at a moderate price point.

Pros: Great basics with sun protection of UPF 50, mostly reasonably priced, lots of options and variety in products, offerings for both men and women, seal of recommendation from Skin Cancer Foundation

Cons: Fancier items can get pricey

Size range: XXS-3X for women’s; S-XXL in regular and tall for men

There’s a reason why L.L.Bean is a go-to source for stylish yet durable outerwear and accessories. The American brand has been making high-quality functional goods for more than 100 years. While you probably own a pair of L.L. Bean’s winter boots or cozy thermals, the company’s summery UPF clothing is just as good.

The iconic company has more than 150 items with built-in sun protection for all genders, including separates, dresses, outerwear, and accessories. Trousers and tops mostly retail for $60 or less, while higher-end pieces like hiking jackets and polarized sunglasses range from $100 to $250.

The brand recently earned The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation on dozens of styles in its collection, including the popular Cropped Comfort Trail Pants. The foundation’s Seal of Recommendation is given to sun conscious products that meet the strict criteria of an independent Photobiology Committee.

Best sporty brand

Athleta UPF

If you like to be active while outdoors, Athleta’s on-trend activewear with UPF 50+ is just what you need.

Pros: Stylish activewear with UPF 50+, many versatile pieces that can be worn multiple ways, high-quality

Cons: Expensive

Size range: XXS-3X for women in petite, regular, and tall

If you love to exercise in the sunshine, check out the UPF workout wear at Athleta. The activewear brand is known for its fashionable yet functional pieces and the company also has a large variety of sun-conscious items.

While Athleta offers plenty of basic tanks, leggings, jackets, and swim that have built-in protection, many of the brand’s most popular UPF items can pull double duty in your summertime wardrobe. Like the Stinson Back Zip Tank, which can be also used as a rashguard or the Makaha High Neck Reversible Bikini Top and Makaha Reversible Bottoms, which can be mixed and matched into four different swimsuit combinations.

Insider Reviews writer Kylie Joyner is a huge fan of the brand’s Sunlover UPF Tank saying, “it provides excellent protection from the sun’s rays.” She added that it is great for hot runs because it  “wicks sweat away easily, and dries quickly.”

Kylie also mentioned that the Athleta UPF top is on the more expensive end but “its performance, quality, and the features it offers make the price justifiable.”

Best bright-colors brand

Lilly Pulitzer UPF

If your warm-weather wardrobe is full o bright prints, Lilly Pulitzer‘s UPF clothing will be right up your alley.

Pros: Fashionable feminine items with UPF 50+, variety of items and prints, great for vacations

Cons: Very bright colors and prints might not be for everyone

Size range: XXS-XL

Resortwear brand Lilly Pulitzer is known for making colorfully printed clothing that screams summer. Knowing that a lot of the brand’s customers pack its cheerful designs for tropical holidays, Lilly Pulitzer expanded its collection to include pieces made with sun protective fabrics.

The vacation-ready UPF 50+ line includes everything from preppy pullovers and sporty leggings to flirty frocks and ruffled skirts, all in the same vivid and happy prints as the regular collection.

The UPF 50+ Sophie Dress was the brand’s first foray into sun-protected clothing and remains one of the most popular pieces to date with a 4.7-star rating on Lilly Pulitzer’s website. The feminine frock comes in six different prints and can be customized with your initials.

It’s just one of the pieces from the stylish line that can offer protection when worn as a cover-up to the beach but is sleek enough to take you from the sand to dinner in a snap.

Best swimsuit brand

land's end swimsuit UPF

If you spend your summers outside laying by the pool or hanging out on the beach, Lands’ End‘s stylish UPF 50 swim and cover-up options will ensure your skin stays protected.

Pros: High-quality swimwear and cover-ups with UPF 50, The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation, large variety of options

Cons: Pieces with technical functions can get expensive

Size range: XS-3X in regular, petite, and long

While Lands’ End has a huge offering of clothing with UPF 50, its swim and cover-up collection is the largest we’ve ever seen. The swim line includes one-pieces, bikinis, swim skirts, rashguards, and even dresskini styles.

Land’s End also offers plenty of cover-ups with built-in sun protection, including dresses, tees, shorts, and skirts in a variety of colors, prints, and sizes. Much of the brand’s clothing also has The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation including the Women’s Perfect Suit One Piece and the Women’s Swim Fabric Skirts.

While most of the line is at a moderate price point, some of the pieces with technical features like tummy control and Slendertex fabric can be pricier.

Best technical plus-size brand

columbia sportswear luke combs fishing
Luke Combs fishing in Columbia Sportswear

Columbia Sportwear uses its proprietary technology to make high-quality UPF clothing for fishing, hiking, trail running, and traveling and is one of the few brands to offer sizes up to 5X and 3X for men and women, respectively.

Pros: Range of sizes; durable, technical gear; sport-specific which includes fishing gear at a larger size; widely available, affordable

Cons: Women’s sizes max out at 3X

It’s no surprise that one of the leading technical outdoor apparel brands would make great sun-protectant clothing. Columbia Sportswear’s UPF items feature Omni-Shade™ Sun Deflector tech, which utilizes reflective dots to deflect sunlight away from your body, while the Omni-Shade™ fabric itself is tightly constructed with UV absorbers to keep any rays that do make it through off your skin. Its sun-protectant clothing is also sweat-wicking to keep you cool and dry on hot days.

The brand offers a huge range of UPF clothing — including tops, bottoms, jackets, hats, gaiters, gloves, even cute jumpsuits and dresses — for most every outdoor activity that has you baking under the sun (namely fishing, trail running, hiking, and traveling). What’s more, Columbia offers these protective items to fit a range of sizes, up to a 5X for men and a 3X for women. While quite a few brands on this list make UPF clothing up to a 3X for women as week, Columbia’s gear overall is some of the most popular with plus-size adventurers for durable, technical, and functional needs.

Popular options include super functional picks like the PFG Tamiami™ II Long Sleeve Shirt, PFG Tidal Deflector™ Hoodie, and the Anytime Outdoor™ Long Shorts, as well as clothing that’ll keep you looking cute but also protected like the Anytime Casual™ Skort and the PFG Freezer™ III Dress (ideal for vacations!). — Rachael Schultz

Brands for UPF hats, gloves, and other accessories

black girls beach sun hat

Coolibar has an extensive collection of UPF 50+ clothing and accessories — everything from scarfs and hats, to beach shawls and even gardening gloves— that look good and offer solid protection.

Seirus Innovation is a partially black-owned business and one of the leading brands for sun-protectant accessories. It makes UPF gloves, neck gaiters, and a wide variety of sun hats that have the helpful ability to physically connect to the neck gaiters for serious skin protection.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How to stop checking work emails when you’re on vacation

woman working from home using laptop computer garden
If you’re still checking work emails or taking calls during the holidays, you might want to try these tips.

  • Though closely associating yourself with your work can improve motivation and job performance, it can also prevent you from fully switching off on holidays or vacations. 
  • Environmental cues like email alerts, phone calls, and our laptops can activate our work identities, making it difficult to mentally relax during time off. 
  • When the office and home are no longer separate entities, we have to protect our time off more than ever by replacing old cues with new ones, experimenting with new identities, and undergoing a digital detox. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Finally, the holidays are here – the break you’ve been waiting for. You want to leave work behind, kick back, and enjoy time with family and friends.

But you’re still checking work emails and taking work calls. Even if you are at a remote location that screams holiday, you’re still thinking about work, or even doing work, although you promised yourself this time would be different.

If this sounds familiar, you’re not the only one struggling to switch off on holidays.

One reason is you, like many others, might derive a strong sense of self from your work.

Read more: Inside the daily routine of BarkBox cofounder Henrik Werdelin, who starts his day with the ‘8 plus 1 method’ and doesn’t check email until lunchtime

Work helps shape your identity

Humans crave answers to the question “who am I?”. One place we find these answers is in the activities we do – including our work. Whether we work by choice, necessity, or a bit of both, many of us find work inevitably becomes a source of our identity.

We develop professional identities (“I’m a lawyer”), organizational identities (“I’m a Google employee”), or as we discovered in our research, performance-based identities (“I’m a top performer”).

Such identification can be beneficial. It has been linked with increased motivation and work performance, and even better health. But it can also prevent us from switching off.

Your work identity can make it harder to switch off

We all know people who are mentally “on holidays” even before the holidays have started. But for others, switching off from work is not so easy. Why?

One factor is our identity mix. We all have multiple identities, but the range and relative importance of our identities vary from person to person.

If work-related identities occupy a central place in how we see ourselves, they’re likely to shape our thinking and behavior beyond work hours – including during holidays. In other words, we stay mentally connected to work not because the boss or the job necessarily requires it, but because it’s hard to imagine other ways of “being ourselves”.

Equally important to why some of us struggle to switch off on holidays are environmental cues. That relaxing chair by the pool or the company of family tell us we’re off work. But email alerts or phone calls, or even the simple sight of our laptop, can activate work identities and associated mindsets and behaviors. No wonder our plans for switching off are doomed.

Read more: Working moms are disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Here are 3 ways leaders can foster a supportive culture for working parents, according to a LinkedIn VP

Yes, but what can I do about it?

It’s worth considering all that obvious advice you’ve heard on the benefits of digital detox.

This is even more important in the new normal of working from home in 2020 and beyond. For many of us, the office and home are now one and the same, meaning we have to work even harder to protect non-work time from work-related incursions.

From an identity perspective, though, there’s a lot more we can do.

First, we can scan the environment and remove any cues that might activate our work identity (beyond switching off email alerts). This might be something as simple as hiding your laptop in a drawer.

At the same time, introduce cues to activate other identities. For instance, if you’re a tennis player or an aspiring artist, keep your gear visible so your brain is primed to focus on those aspects of your self.

Second, research suggests we can engage in “identity work” and “identity play“. That’s deliberately managing and revising our identities, and even experimenting with potential new ones. Imagining and trying new and more complex versions of ourselves takes time, but it can be an effective antidote to an overpowering work identity.

But simply trying to not think about work over the holidays is likely to do more harm than good. Much research shows trying to suppress certain thoughts tends to have the opposite effect, making us not only have the thought more, but also feeling worse afterwards.

A better approach may be to accept the thought for what it is (a simple mental event), and naturally let your mind move to the next carriage in your train of thought.

In the long term, it’s worth reflecting on whether you might be over-identifying with work.

Read more: How to climb the remote corporate ladder and set yourself up for a promotion when you’re not working in an office

One way to test this is by assessing how you feel about doing the unthinkable of completely unplugging for a while. Does that make you anxious?

What about the idea of retirement – that final “holiday” we’ve worked towards our entire life? This too can be challenging for identity reasons: giving up work can feel like giving up a part of ourselves. We can prevent that, and ensure we enjoy retirement and all other holidays, by considering what else we could use as equally valid sources of identity.

Ultimately, the aim is to see ourselves as the complex creatures we indeed are, defined by more than just our work, so we can make the most of our precious time away from it.

Disclaimer: We wrote part of this article on holidays. Academics are perhaps the best (or worst?) example of over-identifying with work. Time for us to really practice what we preach.

Dan Caprar, associate professor, University of Sydney and Ben Walker, lecturer (management), Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The Conversation
Read the original article on Business Insider

I worked for 25 years before taking an 11-month career break, and learned 5 things that anyone can do to reap the benefits of a ‘sabbatical mindset’ – even without taking time off

Chris Litster
Chris Litster.

  • Chris Litster is an executive at Buildium, a platform that helps property managers become more efficient and profitable.
  • Several years ago when the company he’d worked at for 10 years was acquired, he said goodbye and decided to take 11 months off from working.
  • For him, the benefits were huge, but Litser also says during a year like 2020 when taking time off might not be an option, there are 5 lessons that anyone can add into their daily routine to adopt the ‘sabbatical mindset.’
  • He encourages reframing your professional priorities, taking the opportunity to dabble and expand your network, and embracing a simplified, more personal bucket list.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Several years ago, I was lucky enough to take a sabbatical from work. 

It sounds like an exceptional luxury. It was. I’ll always be grateful for the 11 months I was able to take off in the middle of my career. It was a choice I was privileged to make and a chance few people ever get. 

I’m writing now in a very different context. The crisis of the last year has impacted so many people’s careers in unexpected, challenging and sometimes devastating ways. Many find themselves between careers or exploring new directions. Others are waiting for jobs to come back or new opportunities to surface. 

There’s no getting around how trying this experience is. But one question may be worth asking: Can this time also be an opening to regroup, refocus, and refresh, so that you’re approaching your next opportunity with purpose? 

The answer may be a flat out “no,” and that’s understandable. But for some, this unexpected break may be able to serve as a critical, even strategic, pause on the career journey. I’d like to re-share my experiences and observations in the hopes of helping others “hack” their own sabbatical, whether your break is planned or unplanned. 

Among the most powerful lessons: You don’t need a few months, or even a few weeks, to reap the benefits. A sabbatical mindset can be achieved with no formal break at all. 

Lesson 1: There’s never a perfect time 

Plenty of my colleagues were supportive of my decision to take time off, even though I didn’t exactly have an endgame in mind. But when my kids found out, one of the first things they asked was, “Are you going to be able to find a job again?” It was a more polite version of what a search firm told me: “You’re stupid. You’re in the prime of your career. Taking a year off will make you irrelevant.”  

These concerns are fair enough – but I think there’s an internal voice that lets you know you’re officially burned out. I knew for a while I wasn’t running on all cylinders. And when your work suffers, when your family life suffers, when you’re no longer in the driver’s seat of your own life, you just have to press pause and recalibrate, or you’re heading for trouble

I had a vague plan for my time off. The first six months were going to be purely about rest and recuperation. The second half would be about refocusing on career plans and next steps. Of course, disconnecting and achieving that was easier said than done.

Lesson 2: Embrace a different kind of bucket list

As I drove home from my last day of work, I practically had a panic attack. “What did you just do?!” just kept repeating in my brain. I spent the first several days of the sabbatical just wondering constantly about what was going on at the office and compulsively checking my calendar app. After spending so much time at a company, it wasn’t exactly easy to make a clean break.

But after a week or so, I did stop refreshing my work email. Once I had disentangled myself from work life, the way my energy came back was actually eye opening. And I was able to start filling my days with the things I’d been meaning to make more time for for years. 

We did do a family trip during my time off, but if anything, my sabbatical was about checking off a bucket list of ordinariness. I woke up without knowing what I was going to do that day… and that’s the way I liked it. I had breakfast with my family most mornings. I drove my kids to school. I did the grocery shopping and played tennis and even tried yoga, now that the excuse of “I’m busy with work” wasn’t true anymore. More than any grand plans or life-changing adventures, the opportunity to truly live in the moment and enjoy the people I love is what restored my energy and enthusiasm.  

Lesson 3: Master the fine art of dabbling

To say I didn’t work at all during my sabbatical would be a lie. I was “working,” but it was at a dramatically different pace and with a very different kind of focus than before. 

I made a point of casually messaging and connecting with colleagues and individuals in my network – the kind of people I’d met over the years and really liked and trusted, but never had much time to connect with outside the office. I didn’t have much of an agenda other than catching up and using them as a sounding board while I sketched out the next phase of my life. It was an opportunity to work through exactly what I was and wasn’t looking for next, putting me back in the driver’s seat of my career. With no real end goal to pursue, my ideas had time to incubate, and evolve. 

It turned out, though, that I was engineering serendipity. Opportunities began popping up through conversation, and my new schedule allowed me to explore some exciting part-time collaborations – like an entrepreneur-in-residence role at VC Michael Skok’s new investment firm. Yes, I had planned on not working for a year, but I realized it was a great way to be exposed to all sorts of companies at different stages and test-drive different roles. It let me explore my options for the future in a low-pressure environment that still left plenty of time to be home for family dinner.

Lesson 4: The sabbatical may have to end, but the benefits don’t

These networking coffee chats eventually led to the role I’m in now – running Buildium, a SaaS-based property management software company in Boston. Sure, I had other offers come my way, but because of the reflective time I had during my sabbatical, I knew they weren’t right. This position ticks the boxes that I now know really matter to me: A work environment I love, a mission I believe in, and a balance with family time.

This was the biggest benefit of the sabbatical – I didn’t just get to sleep in on weekdays; I got a chance to reorient and clarify my priorities. I’d been so focused on striving towards an executive role that I forgot what else matters. Taking time off allowed me to find a healthier way to work, and afterwards I learned to prioritize being home at 6:30 p.m. for family dinners every single night. Sure, it wasn’t always perfect, and I sometimes I still found myself answering emails after the rest of the family has gone to sleep. But I wouldn’t give up quality time again for the world. 

Lesson 5: You can find that same perspective without going on sabbatical at all

I’m acutely aware how lucky I was to take nearly a year off. More and more people are taking DIY sabbaticals like me, but I know many people in my life who simply don’t have the luxury of taking an extended break – even a few weeks off is a privilege many just can’t afford. My company does offer all employees a sabbatical for certain tenure milestones, but it’s rare in other corporate environments. 

That being said, I feel that several of the benefits of a sabbatical don’t actually require a formal one. With a little mindfulness, the lessons of an extended break can be achieved on a much shorter time frame:

  • Identify your non-negotiables and stick to them. Whether it’s getting home for family dinner every night or going to the gym every day, if something brings you joy or clarity, make it a priority in your schedule on a regular basis. If you keep putting these things off until you “have the time,” you may miss out completely.
  • When you’re off, really be off. Turn off your email, stay away from the computer, and be present in whatever you’re doing. When I was fully and completely away from work the speed with which my creativity and energy returned was amazing – literally, a matter of days.
  • Make time to talk with people you respect and trust. The casual coffee chat is the first thing to get cut in a busy week, but having this sounding board is invaluable to clarify your goals and hurdles and expose you to new opportunities. It’s a wellspring of inspiration that offers value beyond job offers. 

It’s all too easy to feel like we’re a passenger on our own career journey. Taking a moment – whether with an extended sabbatical break or just on a quiet Sunday afternoon – to ask yourself what you truly prioritize is the best way to put yourself back in the driver’s seat. 

Is your current role getting you where you want to go? Is your work environment helping you make your life richer? No one wants a career where you rack up regrets as fast as bonuses and promotions. Press pause however you can, and you might fast-forward your life in the process.

This version of this story was originally published on Business Insider December 13, 2019.

Read the original article on Business Insider