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.
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:
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In the past, workplaces were designed with the employer in mind. The goal was to get the most productivity out of each employee—often without taking into account the quality of those employees lives. But as a new generation enters the workforce, ideas about how to keep employees productive are changing. We now know that employee engagement boosts productivity over the long term and that creativity keeps companies competitive in a changing world. As a result, workplace design is evolving to put the employee experience first. (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…)
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…)
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…)
“Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
Sometimes finding happiness must be very intentional but simply knowing happiness is a choice is not enough. Experiencing it requires a conscious decision every day and it is not always easy.
A while ago one woman took the Internet by storm with her Facebook Live video gone viral. Candace Payne, otherwise known as “Chewbacca Lady,” bought a noise-making Chewbacca mask, put it on, laughed quite a bit, and shared her experience on Facebook. The video has garnered over 159 million views and millions of likes. Whether you love Star Wars or you have no idea what a Chewbacca is, one thing for certain is that Candace Payne most likely brought a smile to your face. (more…)
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After the doldrums of winter, spring is a time for change and renewal. That’s why it’s this time of year when many of us think about spring cleaning — getting rid of the old to make way for the new. In the office, spring cleaning can mean clearing off your desk so you can be more organized, or it could mean wrapping up those lingering projects so you can devote your attention to creating new ones. It’s a great time for leaders to help employees refresh their workspaces and re-engage with their work. It could make both you and your employees happier, healthier and more productive.
Welcome to the New Normal: The average business professional has 30-100 projects on their plate, is interrupted 7x/hour, and unlocks their phone 110 times a day. We are pressured to ‘innovate or stagnate’ amidst constant change.
This is the sixth in a continuing blog series based on insights and findings from the Sodexo 2016 Workplace Trends Report. The Report examines nine key trends affecting business outcomes and the quality of life of employees and consumers. To learn more, access the full article authored by Thomas Stat, COO of IA Collaborative, Humanizing the Workplace: Using Design Principles to Inspire Workplace Thinking
The marketplace is flooded with articles, books and even phone apps trying to solve the question of what makes people happy. While happiness may seem like an esoteric concept, its origins are now being broken down to a science. Similarly, when it comes to employee engagement, figuring out what it takes to create a work place where employees are happy (and therefore more productive) has become a scientific pursuit of trying to find the right solutions. However, research shows that even with all the time, effort and dollars companies have spent to address employee engagement, the overall rates of employee satisfaction and happiness are still less than desirable.
We love technology. We live in a digital world. On our wrists or through our fingertips, most of us are connected to a device 24/7. Technology is present in almost every aspect of daily life. Growing numbers of people would rather communicate over social networks, email or text than to have a face to face conversation.
I recently had the opportunity to hear a true agent of change share a compelling case for the need to redefine what it means to be successful in today’s world. Arianna Huffington, Chair, President and Editor-in-Chief, The Huffington Post Media Group, shared a detailed roadmap for positive lifestyle change during her keynote speech at the inaugural Quality of Life Conference. She had just come from the funeral of Sheryl Sandberg’s husband, Dave Goldberg, and she posed the question: “Why is it that our eulogies are so different from our resumes?” People’s resumes often bear little resemblance to their eulogies. We are not spending our days aligned with the values people will remember us for.
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Leading a team in today’s business world is a bit like conducting an orchestra. Just like a conductor, you provide clear direction, set the pace for your players and control team dynamics. As long as everyone is playing from the same sheet of music in perfect harmony, you can deliver a great performance.
Chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and chronic pulmonary conditions are becoming a huge economic burden in the U.S. Earlier onset of chronic disease and its development in more working-aged adults has caused a decline in the overall health and quality of life of employees, resulting in days away from work and subpar job performance. Adding to the burden is the cost of treating chronic disease—estimated to account for about 75% of national healthcare expenditures.
According to Statistic Brain, coffee, fresh brewed and fragrant, is enjoyed by 100 million Americans every day—and 25% drink more than 13 cups each week. Our caffeinated nation’s productivity outpaces all other countries, and though this can’t be directly correlated to coffee consumption, it’s probably a contributing factor. While I’m not a huge coffee drinker, I can tell you that a little surge of caffeine boosts my output and really keeps me alert, both physically and mentally.
If you’re running a company and you happened to skim Gallup’s recently-released State of the American Workplace report, you perhaps have alegitimate reason to worry about the future. It finds that, of the approximately 100 million people in America who are employed full-time, only 30 percent are engaged and inspired at work. That means 70 million people in this country are either “actively disengaged.” Or, only slightly better, they are just not engaged. Put more plainly, employees have checked out.