Take a break – and switch off!


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July is upon us and for those of us in Europe this marks the true beginning of summer (even if the weather doesn’t quite agree). Many parts of Europe effectively shut down for a month while everyone heads off on holiday. However, a new study by the Chartered Management Institute this week found that only one in two UK managers will take a holiday this summer, and those that do take a break will be working whilst away.

It was a great report but I suspect many read it with one eye on their ‘million and one things to do’, list – trying to recall the last time they had a proper break – or on a beach somewhere supposedly switching off from work.

This survey highlights how companies and managers are still not focusing enough attention on the importance of maintaining a well-rested workforce that’s happy, healthy and more positive towards their work.

We’ve seen study after study showing the impact of stress and sickness absence on the bottom line. According to a report in June last year by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), sickness absence cost employers around £6.5 billion a year.

The cost of workplace absence to businesses is such a problem that, in the UK, the Government has recently announced proposals for employers to get tax relief of up to £500 per worker to pay to use third-party providers to tackle sickness absence.

But the key is to treat the cause and not the symptom.

By engaging with your team regularly – either through one to one’s or an employee engagement survey – you can find out how they’re feeling about their work before it’s too late and they end up on long-term absence. Are they taking enough time off or do they appear overworked and stressed?

Numerous studies have proved that engagement has a direct, positive and measurable impact on key performance metrics such as absenteeism, employee productivity, loyalty and retention. According to the CIPD you can increase your business income by 19% if your staff are highly engaged as they’re happier and willing to go that extra mile. If staff are happy in work then it helps drive commitment, motivation and business results.

By creating a culture that encourages staff to take a break and tries to accommodate holiday requests, even if they’re last minute, will go a long way to making employees feel valued, appreciated and more likely to enjoy their job. Check if they need support to get actions finalised before they go away. Help them to focus their time properly and prioritise workloads – so they aren’t working an extra eight hours a week to get work wrapped up as the CMI report suggests.

And once staff are away, use the opportunity to empower and develop other employees by delegating tasks in their absence. This will not only motivate others in your team but offer reassurance to the person on holiday that their work is covered and they can switch off completely.

So, if you’re reading this blog when you’re supposed to be on holiday, then put your phone or Ipad down, relax and take a well deserved break.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Holly Gage
Holly works for The Forum Corporation in London as the Marketing Director, EMEA. She has been with Forum for seven years, during which time she has also worked in Singapore where she was also responsible for marketing across Asia-Pacific.


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