Employers who genuinely care about their Employees generally get an excellent return on such investment: productivity improvements. Supporting Employees to take proper breaks and vacations and encouraging them to make time for rest, relaxation and recreation is not just about being nice: Holidays Make Good Business Sense!
Focus & Productivity
We are all familiar with the fact that we work both harder and smarter in the weeks leading up to an extended break or vacation. In particular, we bring more projects to a close, we make decisions faster and we delegate quicker. Sometimes, we don’t recognise our own changed behaviour, but we definitely are aware when our boss is scheduled to take a break.
Failure to take reasonable breaks is one key factor that can and will lead to stress, burnout and increased Staff turnover.
Perspective & Creativity
When we radically change our environment, we change our perspective and our thinking. Just consider the last time you visited somewhere new and exciting. You had a heightened sense of awareness about what was different and what was better. You also took in what was the same or worse. Invariably, we compare our experiences with our routine: sometimes it helps us to appreciate what we actually have. At other times it makes us want to change our routine. It impacts on all aspects of our work, not least our relationships. Mostly we return in better humour and are more tolerant of those we consider irritating or unreasonable. In spite of ourselves, we actually think about improvements that we can bring back, whether it is a change in our food, our working regime or just how we do things at work.
Often, being away from some difficulty or challenge in the business allows us to relax in a way that is not possible in what can be a stress filled environment. In a stress reduced state, our minds are more open to ways and means by which we can resolve existing problems or challenges. The solution we were looking for often presents itself at a time when we least expect it, having being worked on and resolved at a sub-conscious level.
Building Better Relationships
Spending time with those we love is an essential part of building and strengthening our relationships with them. Vacation time is usually a good time, notwithstanding the stresses of dealing with planes, trains and automobiles or satisfying everyone who has different choices. Genuinely, it almost always allows us to appreciate those that we love, just that little bit more. This is reflected in the positive manner in which we deal with our business relationships on our return.
Checks & Balances
One of the more traditional reasons for insisting that all Employees take one two week break, at a minimum, is because it has brought to light poor practices, irregularities or even frauds. Few frauds are dependant upon an accomplice, most being perpetrated by individuals, so lack of holidays was always a good management letter issue for Auditors to raise.
Next time an Employee comes in to arrange their holidays, don’t think of it as a logistical nightmare; smile and enjoy it because you’ll both benefit. Oscar Wilde (who else), possibly put it best when he suggested:
Too much work, and no vacation,
Deserves at least a small libation.
So hail! my friends, and raise your glasses,
Work’s the curse of the drinking classes.
Published in Small Business Can on September 6, 2021.