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The Power of the Pause

As we begin summertime plans, let’s find time for rest and relaxation from our work, too. 

Mid-year reflection on performance goals and taking time off can help reduce burnout and provide time for self-reflection. Regardless of whether employees opt to take a few at-home mental health days or plan an elaborate vacation, pausing work for a while promotes work-life balance, improves productivity, and gives more motivation to achieve goals upon returning to work. Besides, time away often lowers work stress and improves your outlook on life.

Despite the obvious benefits, like avoiding burnout, in previous years more than half of U.S. workers ― 55% — reported feeling guilty about taking vacations, according to a survey by TurnKey Vacation Rentals. In 2019, Americans left 768 million days of paid time off unused, according to research released by the U.S. Travel Association.

Many companies offer paid time off (PTO) but don’t take steps to address how burnout can affect their talent or create a culture that teaches employees that it is OK to take time off. Encouraging vacation scheduling as a team shows employees that this kind of reset is important, and working to schedule backup coverage as a team allows work to continue to flow. 

There are times when emergencies can’t be prevented, but when employees take their much-needed vacation, try not to reach out to them. Give them the gift of uninterrupted time away. And employees should try not to think about work. Leave the laptop and email habits at home. According to TurnKey’s survey, 70% of respondents admitted to checking in with their workplace from vacation at least occasionally, and 21% answered that they checked in at least once a day. To really get the rest that employees need, they need to save work communications for when they return. 

Companies that don’t take steps to address burnout and Listen. Learn. Then Lead with TLC (Transparency, Leadership by example, and Caring)™ face the risk of losing their top talent. One innovative tool that organizations are using is closing the office for all to enjoy time off at the same time – around long weekends or when team goals are met. Pausing work for a few days benefits the employee and the company, giving employees the chance to come back with a fresh mind, new ideas, and often a renewed sense of passion for their job.

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