Time Off Makes Employees More Productive

America typically works on a 9 to 5, 40 hours a week work model. However, when big projects are due or unexpected challenges pop up, those 40 hours a week quickly turn into 50 or 60 hours in one week and then spill out into the weekend.  In today’s highly competitive environment companies who see their people through the lens of “human capital asset”  tend to push employees to burn-out mode, then wonder why employees attitudes are bad and there is no loyalty.

While the “American Dream” teaches us that to achieve success you must work hard, you can’t do that without some time to decompress. Project: Time Off conducted in 2015 showed that 55% of employees leave vacation days unused(http://www.projecttimeoff.com/issue). America’s tendency to not take their vacation  has left a stockpile of 658 million vacation days unused, which equals $61.4 billion in forfeited benefits from today’s workforce.

Smart companies understand that their people need time off.  They know that it’s important for employees to be away from the stress of the daily grind in order to decompress and recharge.  They encourage employees to take their vacation.  In fact, in some cases they reward a job well done with time off.

Unplug from the office with time off

Let go of the office and unplug for some days off.

So why don’t more people take vacation?

The number one reason why people don’t take time off is that they don’t want to leave their work unfinished or hand off projects to coworkers while they are gone. 37% of employees choose not to take a vacation because of the mountain of work that will be waiting for them when they return. 22% refuse because they want to show their dedication to their company.

Companies are beginning to recognize the value of vacation. Smart companies are encouraging their employees to use all their vacation time each year. Company leaders that understand the importance of vacation understand that employees become more engaged and creative in the office as a result of having time off to recharge their batteries.

Here are the main two benefits of vacation:
  1. Recharges creativity
    1. When you’re on vacation unplug from all forms of work technology. Don’t check your email or your phone. Be radical and even turn off your work phone.
    2. Business unplug time off

      Studies show that people rarely unplug from the office even though there a proven health benefits.

      Studies show 50% of people who take their allotted time off are either contacted by bosses and/or coworkers or answer emails during that time.

    3. Unplugging lets your mind rest and  gives you the opportunity to look at things from a new perspective.
    4. Pro tip: Taking time away from something lets you approach a task in a new way that you would have never thought of by being in the office.
  2. Improves Health

There are many health benefits from vacations like reducing stress levels, the risk for heart disease, and reduced risks of depression. Read more about the health benefits here: Health Benefits of Vacation

Some companies use vacations to incentivize employees.

    1. Paid trips are not a thing of the past. Incentivize your employees by offering paid vacations that they can take their significant other, family, or friends on. This will guarantee that they take the time off.
    2. Use time off as a reward for a job well done.  If an important pitch goes well or a crucial project is finished, reward your team with a half day off. Tell them all to go home and enjoy the time on the company clock.
    3. Summer hours are a great way to incentivize your team during the week. Close down the office a few hours early on Fridays during the summer. Your employees will be more productive during the week if they know that they can leave early  on Friday.
Other companies create “Fun” Corporate Events to take people away from work.
  1. Rent out theme parks and boardwalks and allow your employees to bring family and friends to partake in the fun! They will all enjoy the time spent together among coworkers.
  2. Friendly Competition:  Yearly fun events like a company cook-off,  BBQ, or golf tournament can be a great way to let your employees show their competitive edge.
  3. The holidays are great opportunities to motivate your office. For Halloween hold a competition for best decorations and encourage each department to decorate their portion of the office for a grand prize. Invite their families in to tour the office and select the winning department. This will strike up friendly competition in the office.

Take away: Even the most driven and hard working people need a vacation because we all have the tendency to burn out.  It’s a great way to maintain a healthy work-life balance. The tips above are examples of what companies can do to encourage their employees to take that allotted time off. Top companies realize that as much as employees may love their job, they need time away from the office.  

ROI: A work-life balance and time spent with family and friends allows your employees to come back refreshed and more productive than before  they left. That makes a company stronger and more efficient.

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