Recharge Harvard

Recharge Harvard Logo
Recharge Harvard is an initiative to promote individual and organizational wellbeing by supporting employees and departments in using earned vacation time. Our careers are a marathon, not a sprint, so it’s vital to take vacation time away from work and to take care of ourselves. 

The ability to rest and recharge is an important part of our health and wellbeing, and time away from work is critical to reducing symptoms of burnout. Furthermore, time off is a valuable component of your total rewards.

Vacation means something different to everyone. For some, vacation may mean taking a weeklong trip to the beach, and for others vacation is a staycation in their backyard, or local day trips. Some of us have child-care or elder-care responsibilities that we have to tend to even when taking a vacation day. Likewise, illness, chronic pain, mental health challenges, and other stressors don’t just disappear because we want them to on a day off. Even with these added layers, time off work is an important and restorative practice. 

Over the next few months, Recharge Harvard will provide you with information about ways to creatively build vacations into your schedule, how to manage expectations while you’re away, and how managers can support team efforts to cover work.

Reimagining priorities and rediscovering healthy balance

A healthy workplace means a healthy balance of priorities and time off work – one that supports our physical and emotional health, as well as our creativity and productivity. In order to Recharge Harvard, leaders, managers, and individual staff members should consider and discuss the following:

  • Distinguish the “mission-critical” from the important, but non-urgent. Coming off two unprecedented pandemic years, we must adjust to an appropriate sense of urgency and expectations around responsiveness.
  • Respect off-hours and time off – our colleagues’ as well as our own. These sample out-of-office messages are designed to set expectations when you’re out of the office.
  • Manage priorities. We must strive to be more deliberate about managing priorities – identifying what can be deprioritized to move past everything being treated as urgent, so that we can focus on our primary concerns.
  • Reward ourselves with vacation time. Time for yourself is a reward, regardless of where or how you spend it. Using time that you have earned will benefit you, your family and loved ones, as well as your team when you return. Check out your vacation balance and enjoy taking some days off! 

Taking vacation? Check out these fun ways to let your colleagues know you'll be away!

Downloadable Zoom backgrounds - see all that tell colleagues you're getting ready to recharge! Also, relax with downloadable Recharge Harvard coloring pages.

Street with quaint stores and text Let me show you where I'm going on vacation
Covered bridge with text On The Road Again
Coloring Page Weekend Getaway Road Trip
Coloring Page Weekend Getaway Train Ride

Vacation use options

Consider the following options that can help you build needed time in your schedule to recharge and refresh. 

  • Extend a holiday (or regular!) weekend on either, or both, ends
  • Time vacations stragegically, around down periods or when senior leadership is away
  • Use half-day vacations, if entire days or weeks are hard to manage. For example, only work mornings for a week (or two!)
  • Take an extra day at home before or after a trip to give yourself time the prepare for leaving or for resuming your regular schedule
  • Create a four-day work week for a team over a set period, rotating days off for fairness
  • See the Tip Sheet for more ideas for you and your coworkers

Recharge Harvard Emails

Read and review the resources in the monthly Recharge Harvard newsletter