Letters to the UMB Community

Using Your Earned Time Off

March 24, 2021

Dear Colleagues:
It has been a year since many of us left the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) campus, and it’s been an incredibly difficult and stressful year at that. We’ve seen news about “Zoom fatigue” and how folks aren’t “working from home, they’re living at work.” Employees are working longer hours — whether on the front lines or teleworking from home — and the time that many spent commuting is now spent working additional hours. And a year into the pandemic, there have been reports about increasing numbers of us experiencing mental health issues.
The COVID-19 pandemic is overwhelming in so many aspects. One that we cannot ignore is the difficulty in creating a division between work and personal time, especially when working from home. I want you to know that it’s not only OK to take time off, but that I also expect UMB’s workforce to do so.
There is a range of emotions related to using leave — and it runs the gamut from not wanting to take a moment away from the fight against COVID-19 to anxiety about job security. I want you to know that UMB’s Ieadership understands that taking your earned time off is critically important to your mental, emotional, and physical health, and it is important for the health and safety of our entire community. Not only that, but there also is a negative economic impact to UMB when we do not take our allotted time off. 
Please make sure that you are taking the time you need — that you have earned — and that you are being respectful of others’ time off. Vacation time doesn’t have to include travel, but it does need to include time to unplug and recharge.
Bruce E. Jarrell, MD, FACS

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