It may sound counterintuitive, but one of the best things you can do to help your employees become more productive is to tell them to get out of the office. Vacation is an opportunity for employees to de-stress, decompress, and enjoy some well-deserved rest and relaxation with their friends and family. Unfortunately, not enough workers in America get the vacation time that they really need, mainly due to vacation guilt.
Vacation guilt comes from both sides. Employees frequently report feeling like they ought to be working when they’re on vacation. Three out of ten American workers admit to doing work while they should be relaxing with their families on a beach somewhere. This is partly due to our American work ethic, but it’s also the result of poor workplace culture. Many US companies have a culture that equates time off with laziness. Personal days are highly discouraged, and many workers fear that if they take the vacation days they are allotted, their bosses will judge them for it. As a result, every year Americans don’t take 175 million vacation days that they are entitled to.
This is a terrible situation both for workers and for their companies. The Daniels Group recently shared results from a Gallup survey that showed on-the-job stress is the top reason for employee dissatisfaction. A full 35% of employees reported that the main source of their stress came from their work interfering with their family or personal time.
Changing Vacation Culture to Improve Performance
A simple and highly effective way to decrease employee stress and create positive culture change in your company is to encourage your employees to use the vacation that is allotted to them. By doing this, you’ll both help your employees live better, happier lives and you will also help improve their performance at work.
Vacation is an ideal time to let your mind wander and play, which is when many employees have their most innovative ideas. Plus, when employees have a chance to recharge and refresh, they end up coming back to work more excited about the tasks ahead of them. In fact, when GoHealthInsurance.com switched to an unlimited vacation time structure for their employees, they reported a 200% improvement in productivity. Please note, unlimited vacation time isn’t the right idea for every company, but it’s worth considering if you haven’t done so already.
So the next time you feel overly stressed at work and think you could use a break, don’t fight that feeling! Use your vacation (don’t lose it) and know that you will be a better employee for it.