When the American Institute of Stress reports that 48 percent of Americans’ personal lives are negatively impacted by work-related stress, it’s time to pay attention—especially those whose job it is (HR!) to ensure the health and productivity of employees.
Dr. Michael Woodward, Ph.D, who specializes in psychology in the workplace, began a recent workplace study by asking himself, “How do I make the American work experience better?” It’s all about taking a real vacation, explains the organizational psychologist known to his clients as “Dr. Woody.”
“Americans only use up to half of their allotted vacation time,” he explains. In fact, the U.S. Travel Association reports that American workers collectively lose 169 million days of paid time off each year by choosing not to take them— a financial loss of $52.4 billion in benefits (that’s $504 per employee!).
So, why the refusal to really “clock out” for vacation? Perhaps it’s a corporate culture that pushes their employees to the extreme. When workers feel as if they are unable to take time away from the office, it can ultimately lead to burnout and loss of productivity.
HR leaders should utilize their position to encourage and support their workers—and that means allowing (and enabling) them to truly take time “off,” especially in light of a recent study that shows 61 percent of people work while on vacation, cites Dr. Woody.
Remind your workers of Dr. Woody’s “orders:”
Truly Disconnect – All phones should be put away when it comes to vacation and family bonding. Setting boundaries for yourself, including unplugging, is an important benefit in reducing stress.
Make Time, and Find Travel Buddies – Even a quick weekend getaway every so often can be a prescription for peace. And, for those who are single, “happiness is found in social support,” reminds Dr. Woody. Look into travel groups and beyond your typical social circles to reach out of your comfort zone—literally!
Happy employees, happy companies—that’s the CareerCo way.
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