How Time Out of the Office Improves Productivity in the Office

By Meghan Dorn, Communications Director

Out-of-the-officeAs we gear up to close out another calendar year, ask yourself: did you use all of your vacation time? Odds are, you are among the 75% of Americans who failed to take all of their allotted vacation. This is a significant challenge not only for the employee, but for the business owners and managers alike.

There are a myriad of excuses why employees put off vacations: fear that management will deem them lazy or not committed to the organization; if waters are turbulent, they could be laid off; projects won’t survive without them; not enough discretionary income to afford going anywhere.

What most people fail to realize is that when employees disregard their need to disconnect, they are putting their health in jeopardy, as well as the health of the organization. All jobs have some level of stress on any given day and employees need time away from the hustle and bustle to clear their heads and their minds, allowing them to come back and perform at higher levels.  Additionally, the added stress can lead to additional health problems which will only add to the cost of stress-related health care, currently estimated at over $344 billion annually.

Jeff Weiss, Senior Vice President of Benefits at USAA, was recently quoted in a Forbes article, saying, “We think time off is actually critical to productivity. When people take their time off to refresh and renew, we believe they service the members more effectively.”

Of course, the most important thing to do when one takes vacation time is to truly TAKE vacation and refrain from checking in at the office. Surprisingly, a reported 61% of Americans continue to work while on vacation, and 20% of employees hear from their bosses during this time. Make sure that you have a strong team in place who can manage projects while someone is out of the office and can deal with challenges should they arise. Respect your employees’ free time and your business will be rewarded in the long run.

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