Vacations are essential for improving employee quality of life. A major U.S. longitudinal study of 12,000 middle-aged men found that taking an annual vacation is associated with reduced risk of death due to heart disease. Vacations also improve employee performance. Iowa State University economics professor Wallace Huffman found vacations can boost productivity as much as 60 percent for up to two months following the vacation. Yet, Glassdoor.com reports that many employees are not using their full paid-time off allotment.
As summer swings into high gear, it’s vacation season in offices across America. With temperatures high and the kids out of school, it behooves employers to encourage employees to use some of their paid time off. Here are three quality of lifehacks to encourage employees to take their PTO.
Educate Employees on the Importance of Vacations
Communicate to employees the importance of taking PTO for themselves and the company. Jill L. Ferguson, Founder of Women’s Wellness Weekends, reports in the Huffington Post, that vacations reduce stress, improve heart and mental health.
It’s also important to encourage employees to disconnect while on vacation. A study conducted by Tel Aviv University found that employees who remain connected during vacation do not get the same benefits as those that disconnect.
One of the main reasons employees do not take a vacation is because they fear it will impact their work. A study by GfK Public Affairs and Corporate Communications and the U.S. Travel Association found that 37 percent of employees were fearful that they would return to a mountain of work. Others said it’s harder to take time off when they have a more senior position or that they want to show that they’re dedicated to their job.
With this in mind, employers can address these concerns by cross-training their workforce so work can be covered while employees are on vacation. This will allow employees to take their vacation without worrying about what will be waiting for them when they return.
Have a formal check-out or handoff procedure
Nothing will guarantee a frostier welcome back to the office for employees if they have not identified the work that needs to be covered while they’re on vacation. Help employees make a list of the tasks that will need to be accomplished while they’re out. Then divvy those tasks up among multiple people so that no one person feels overburdened. Once you’ve identified specific people to tackle each task, brief each one on how to accomplish it, either individually, as a group or in a detailed email. Also, alert them to any emergency issues that could come up—no matter how unlikely—and where they can find the information they need to handle them.
How does your company encourage employees to take a vacation? How does your company manage their workload while employees are out? Share in the comments section below.
As we prepare to celebrate Father’s Day this month, we do so knowing that the days of a bread-winning father and a stay-at-home mother are no longer the reality for most families. In fact, both parents work in 59.1 percent of married couples with children in this country.
June is National Dairy Month, so we decided to highlight the benefits of adding naturally nutrient-rich dairy foods to your diet. Dairy foods—milk, yogurt and cheese—are an important source of high-quality protein and essential nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and vitamins A and D. In fact, studies show that including dairy foods as part of a healthy diet can improve the overall quality of your diet and help reduce the risk of osteoporosis, heart disease and type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure in adults. Dairy foods are also recognized by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association for contributing calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D that likely play a role in dental health. (more…)
You might not think of your workplace as a health hazard, but the effects of sitting all day at the office, grabbing a handful of candy as you walk by your coworker’s desk every day, and not drinking enough water are just a few of the unhealthy habits that can take a toll on your health. Here are three Quality of Lifehacks that can make for a healthier you in the workplace and a more productive workday. (more…)
If you work in an office building, how do you feel about your workspace? Do you find your workspace, whether it’s a cubicle, open workspace, or private office, to be cramped, dark or stuffy? If so, research shows that this can impact your happiness, health and productivity.
With this in mind, here are three hacks to help improve your workspace:
Nearly half of the American workforce is female. And estimates are that nearly 85 percent of those women either are or will become mothers. In a tightening labor market, it’s more important than ever for companies to have “mom-friendly” workplaces if they want to attract and keep some of their best talent.
With Mother’s Day around the corner, here are three Quality of Lifehacks for building a welcoming environment for working mothers. (more…)
Spring is the season to rejuvenate your home, your body, and your health. And just as we refresh our homes and our wardrobes after a long, cold winter, we can do the same for our diets. Here are 3 Quality of Lifehacks to get started on spring-cleaning your diet.
As April rolls in, baseball is getting into in full swing. Whether you enjoy casually watching your favorite teams on the big screen, or you just go to the games for the food and fun, there are several business lessons you can learn from America’s favorite pastime. Like business, baseball is a game of strategy and planning. In a single inning anything can happen, and each play comes with an element of unpredictability. So how do teams and coaches make informed decisions? And what can you learn from their strategies? Here are three business lessons you can learn from baseball. (more…)
Do you feel you can’t get through the morning without caffeine? In the United States, 80 percent of adults consume caffeine every day. While most Americans enjoy their coffee in moderation, overconsumption can lead to unpleasant consequences. If you find yourself refilling your coffee cup throughout the day you may be familiar with the side effects of caffeine, such as insomnia, stomach issues and increased heart rate. (more…)
Have you ever thought about how many single parents work at your company? There may be more than you think. According to the Census Bureau, there were approximately 12 million single-parent families in the U.S. in 2016. National Single Parents’ Day, which takes place on March 21, is the perfect opportunity to celebrate single parents and determine how HR policies can better suit their needs. Working parents face unique challenges, but organizations can help alleviate the pressure on single parents with policies that help. Consider these three Quality of Lifehacks for supporting single parents in your workplace. (more…)
Are you feeling a little sluggish this morning? You’re not the only one. Daylight saving time officially began this weekend. This shift costs Americans an hour of sleep.
When it comes to work, losing any amount of productivity due to poor sleep can make or break your efficiency for the day. With this in mind, here are three Quality of Lifehacks for saving time and boosting productivity at work. You may even save enough time to get back the hour you lost this morning. (more…)
For over 100 years, International Women’s Day has been a reminder to recognize women’s contributions to the American workforce and economy. Women in the workplace have come a long way, but there is still a long way to go before women are treated equally to men when it comes to financial compensation and social acknowledgment at work. For example, men still receive more recognition at work for their successes than women according to a recent survey by Bamboo HR.
With this mind, consider these three Quality of Lifehacks for supporting women’s success in your organization in celebration of International Women’s Day and every other day of the year. (more…)
If you’re like many American workers, you collaborate with colleagues who work remotely on a regular basis. In the U.S. alone, 3.7 million employees now work from home at least half the time. New data suggests that this scenario will only become more common—80 to 90 percent of the American workforce expresses a desire to telework at least part-time, according to globalworkplaceanalytics.com.
A flexible teleworking policy can be a great way to recruit talent, improve morale and boost employee engagement. However, there are real quality of life challenges to take into account for those looking to implement or improve a work-from-home policy. Teleworkers can experience professional isolation, which is a perception of both social and professional seclusion from the rest of the company. Missing out on workplace camaraderie and being overlooked for input on important decisions can make it difficult for telecommuters to feel heard and involved in their organizations. Here are a few steps you can take to implement a telework policy that works for both your company and your employees.
Make it official. Provide official guidance resources to set remote workers up for success. When implementing a telework policy, it can be tempting to deal with rules and issues on an ad hoc basis. However, legitimizing teleworkers with official and easily accessible policy documents will help them understand their role in the company and empower them to advocate for themselves.
Engage in-office staff. Often, companies don’t teach on-site staff how to effectively work with telecommuters. It can be challenging to manage a direct report that telecommutes, so offer trainings for managers on topics like how to perform a yearly review over the phone. In a conference with both teleworkers and in-person staff, it’s easy to overlook people not in the room. Brief meeting facilitators on how to engage teleworkers during brainstorms and meetings. For major company announcements, remind high-level executives to consider questions and comments gathered from remote employees.
Create a “telecommunity”. Teleworkers can feel especially isolated when the rest of the office is together for a fun event, like an office party. As a general rule, when spending company time or resources on on-site staff, consider how you can provide a similar experience for the teleworking community. For instance, in lieu of an on-site holiday party for remote employees, use a similar per capita investment to deliver a special holiday gift. Then, offer a teleworking-community-exclusive platform to encourage employees to share photos and stories from their holidays at home.
How do you engage teleworkers at your workplace? Tell us in the comments.
You may have watched this weekend’s NBA All-Star game, but do you know why those players were picked to play? It’s not about points scored or minutes played, and it’s not about the dollars they earn for team owners. They’re chosen by the people most touched by their work. The NBA lets fans pick half of the starting players — and the rest are picked by fellow players and the media who cover them. Coaches pick the reserves. The stars are brought into this national spotlight because their work has made an impression on the people closest to the game — and it’s the fact that fans, peers, reporters, and coaches are responsible for the selection that makes the occasion even more special for the players. (more…)
What’s your favorite office snack? Is it candy, chips, cookies, or other treat?
It’s very easy to eat unhealthy while at work. Further, many people may eat breakfast, lunch and snacks at work. Add in a midday gourmet coffee drink, treats provided at meetings, and an office drink fridge, people can easily tank their diets while on the job.
With this in mind, here are three Quality of Lifehacks to eat healthy at work. (more…)
February is National Hot Breakfast Month. And while chilly February is the perfect time to start your morning with something warm, there are benefits to eating a cooked breakfast year-round. Like all home-cooking, homemade breakfasts are likely to be healthier than any prepared food you could buy at the coffee shop near your office. And while it can be hard to find the time to cook in the morning, there are plenty of things you can make in a few minutes. Making time to prepare them can make your morning a more pleasant experience. (more…)
Winter brings long nights, cold temperatures—and high energy bills. All of that artificial heat and light uses up energy resources and costs a lot.
While we’re often focused on not running up our heating bills at home, it’s just as important to be aware of skyrocketing costs at the office. Here are a few areas to focus on when cutting costs. (more…)
Most of us spend at least half of our waking hours at work, so why not make it fun? In fact, research has shown that creating a feeling of optimism and happiness at work can improve employee performance. A survey of HR managers showed that the majority encourages fun at work because they believe it benefits both the individual and the organization. (more…)
Do there seem to be an awful lot of twenty and thirtysomethings walking around your office these days? Millennials are now the largest generation in the U.S. workforce—they passed Generation X in 2015, according to the Pew Research Center.
With so many Millennials in the workforce, developing their talent is important to every organization’s future. Here are a few tips on how to effectively mentor this unique generation.
This past Monday was National Clean Off Your Desk Day. Although this “holiday” might feel a little made-up, it’s still a good excuse to begin the New Year with a clean and organized workspace. Whether or not you buy into this observance, research shows that your workspace impacts your job satisfaction as well as your quality of life. (more…)
As the year comes to a close and a New Year begins, will you be making any New Year’s resolutions? Many of us use this as a time to reflect and decide to make changes to improve our lives. In fact, surveys have found some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions include “live life to the fullest,” “live a healthier lifestyle” and “lose weight.” (more…)
Do you find the holidays stressful? It may be dealing with last minute holiday shopping, meeting end-of-year work obligations, or putting up with zany in-laws. It’s no surprise that December has been named National Stress-Free Family Holidays Month. Stress can impact concentration, motivation and productivity. It can also impact health and wellbeing.
With this in mind, here are three Quality of Lifehacks to help manage holiday season stress. (more…)
It’s National Handwashing Awareness Week. Everyone knows that handwashing is key to prevent the spread of germs. This is especially important in the workplace. The Workforce Institute reports that workplace absenteeism rates range from five to ten percent. This means that at any point in time up to one out of 10 employees is missing from work due to illness.
Tis the season! This means dazzling Christmas light displays, countless hours of holiday shopping, and joyous festivities with coworkers, families and friends. It’s also a time for delicious holiday foods, like eggnog, fruitcake, pecan pie, sweet potato casserole and turkey with all the trimmings. While the season is filled with holiday cheer and celebrations, it’s also a time when many of us overindulge and fill up on too many calories. (more…)
November is a time devoted to raising awareness and understanding of diabetes—a disease that affects the lives of 29 million Americans living with diabetes, 86 million adults with prediabetes, and countless family and friends caring for loved ones. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease, accounting for 90-95 percent of people living with diabetes (PWDs), and is on the rise worldwide. The good news is that lifestyle changes can help delay or even prevent type 2 diabetes. Here are three tips that can help you manage and take control of type 2 diabetes. (more…)
The Great American Smoke Out is this week. The American Cancer Society leads this yearly event on the third Thursday of each November to encourage smokers across the country to make a plan to quit or to plan in advance to quit smoking on this day. Over 480,000 Americans die from tobacco-related illnesses each year. Research also shows that smokers cost their employers close to $6,000 per year more than non-smokers.
With this in mind, it behooves employers to help their employees quit smoking. Here are three Quality of Lifehacks to help. (more…)
November 8 is Election Day. There will be an estimated 237 million eligible voters in this election. One way or another, there’s going to be a wave of people who are disappointed in the election results, perhaps passionately so. Whether you’re in an office that will actively be tracking Election Day results or one where employees will monitor it on their own, the election can lead to a tough environment for many employees.
Hello Out There. Is Anyone Listening?
In today’s constantly connected, multitasking world, listening is more important than ever. Unfortunately, it’s fallen to the bottom of our priority list.
Listening is where meaningful communication and relationships start. In business, listening is especially important. It’s how you build trust, manage disagreements, inspire your people and enhance commitment. At Sodexo, one of our core values is team spirit. Listening is fundamental to developing and nurturing successful teams. (more…)
Halloween is filled with costumes, haunted houses, trick or treating—and candy! Whether you prefer chocolate or candy corn, the sales of candy during the week of Halloween are reported to be greater than candy sales during the weeks before Easter and Valentine’s Day. That’s a lot of sugar!
October can be the scariest month of the year—not because of Halloween, but because it’s Vegetarian Awareness Month, and, for some of us, eating a vegetarian diet seems too fearsome a task to even attempt. But—just like when you visit the haunted house in your neighbor’s garage—the fear of going veg is all in your head. With just a few easy techniques, becoming a vegetarian is easy as meat-free pie. (more…)
One of the major demographics shifts over the last decades has been the rise of women in the workplace. With women making up nearly half the workforce, there are more working moms than ever before.
For new moms, returning to the office after maternity leave can be difficult. But there are steps that you and your workplace leaders can take to make sure your transition goes smoothly. (more…)
An astonishing 50 percent of the workforce will be composed of millennials by the year 2020, according to a PWC report. It may be hard to categorize all people who were born between 1980 and 2000 (millennials) as one type of person because people can vary significantly in mentality and habits. However, research and first-hand experience shows ways to improve engagement among millennials. Below are three things to keep in mind for engaging millennials. (more…)
For the vast majority of us, having a boss is just a fact of life. Whether or not we get along with those bosses, however, can be much less of a sure thing—but it doesn’t have to be.
Other than being a friendly, intelligent and all-around all-star employee, which of course you are, there are steps you can actively take to better connect with your boss, and they’re not even that hard. Check them out: (more…)
We just celebrated Labor Day, when we take the day off to relax and honor the hard work we do all year ‘round. But you shouldn’t have to take a day off work to enjoy yourself. Making work your happy place can go a long way towards improving your health and well-being. In fact, happiness in the workplace has been proven to increase employee engagement, which boosts productivity. And who doesn’t want to be happier, more engaged and more productive?
According to a recent Gallup poll, 70% of workers either hate their job or feel completely disengaged at work. But we can take steps every day to make our workplace more enjoyable. Here are three tips: (more…)
Today is Women’s Equality Day, and it’s the perfect time to both celebrate women’s achievements and bring attention to the inequalities still lingering in the workplace.
It’s been more than half a century since Congress passed the Equal Pay Act, but even today American women across the workforce can find themselves hitting the glass ceiling. Women make up nearly half of the workforce, but they’re paid only 79 cents for every dollar a man makes. Women are also under-represented in upper-level positions. In fact, only 4.6 percent of Fortune 500 and S&P 500 companies are run by women. (more…)
Today is National Relaxation Day. While we can all agree that relaxation is a good thing, it might seem hard to live up to the spirit of the holiday on a work day—especially a Monday. After all, the office can be a difficult place to relax. According to the American Institute of Stress, “job stress is more strongly associated with health complaints than financial or family problems.” But there are simple ways to lower your stress level at the office. Here are three hacks to help you relax: (more…)
As Pokémon Go sweeps the nation—and the world—you might see even more people than usual wandering the streets staring into their phones. The augmented reality game uses smartphones to overlay the real world with images of video-game creatures that users can “catch” by throwing “Poké balls” at them in the app. Health experts have praised the game for using augmented reality to get users outside and walking around. Hunting for Pokémon like Pikachu and Bulbasaur is certainly better exercise than most smartphone games and could potentially be used as a fun team-building activity in the workplace. (more…)
No matter where you work, it’s likely that you have a boss that manages you. What you may not realize is that not only does your boss manage you, but you can manage him or her as well. Being able to positively manage up can make your life at work easier and happier, but it has other benefits as well. A good manager can advocate for you to get the opportunities you want, whether it’s being put on a new project or getting a promotion. (more…)
People make a lot of promises about quick fixes to improve productivity in your workplace. While most of those are more hype than help, there’s a remarkably simple trick that might actually work: Drink more water.
Water is one of the most basic things humans need. In addition to a host of health benefits – like improving skin and kidney function – drinking water prevents dehydration, which can cause fatigue. By staying hydrated throughout the day, you and your employees can maintain energy and focus – and improve performance.
Here are three easy ways to incorporate more hydration into your workday.
Have a water date
Chats around the water cooler used to be so common in workplaces that the term is shorthand for a time when employees take a break to gossip or discuss last night’s TV shows. These days, the idea seems almost as outdated. Employees are now more likely to head to a coffee shop for some caffeine or discuss the latest spoilers on interoffice chat. To encourage your office to drink more water, bring back the water cooler conversation. Start by making sure you have a water cooler, fountain or other way of accessing clean water. Then, instead of going for coffee with a friend, make a date to meet at the water cooler to fill your water bottle. Making the break something to look forward to will get your team more hydrated in no time.
Make the swap
Swap at least one beverage a day for plain water. If you drink sugary soft drinks, replacing them with water will reduce the number of calories you take in and reduce your consumption of sugar, too much of which can lead to obesity and diabetes. Sugary drinks, as well as caffeinated ones like diet soda and coffee, give you a quick burst of energy but usually result in a crash soon after. Water won’t lead to a crash – and because it prevents dehydration, it might give you the energy boost you’re after.
Challenge your team
A little competition among team members can be a great thing. A water-drinking competition will promote both team-building and health. Rather than seeing who can drink the most water, it might be best to see who can hit a specified goal (2 liters a day is a challenging but reasonable goal for most) because, while rare, it is possible to drink too much water. You could even kick off the competition by giving out some cool water bottles. And be sure to have a healthy prize for the winner!
How will you promote drinking water in your office? Share your ideas in the comments.