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4 Reasons Why Entrepreneurs Should Pay For Their Employees’ Vacations

4 Reasons Why Entrepreneurs Should Pay For Their Employees’ Vacations

Right now, you must thinking that the title for this article is ridiculous. Who deliberately gives their employees vacation time—and at the expense of the organization too? Heck, it’s bad enough they’re leaving work in the first place, what do we do to make up for the work they leave behind while they’re vacationing, right?

Well, that is what most bosses would think—especially those that would rather tie an employee to a chair than let them leave for an extensive vacation. Here’s the keyword: “extensive”. For some reason, we always attach words to certain things and form associations without considering other possibilities.

Who said a vacation has to be extensive?

I like the thought Alfred James expressed in his article called, ‘Why you should take a day off of work and not feel guilty about it’ (clearly, he’s not talking about an extensive vacation at all):

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“Companies don’t own us. Work doesn’t own us. It is important as free-thinking sentient beings that we don’t feel trapped and indebted to work all the time.”

Look at it this way: you don’t own your employees and your work doesn’t own them – or you for that matter. Big bad bosses who think otherwise will only foster a mindset that makes employees feel “trapped and indebted” to work.

This can eventually lead to low employee morale, less engagement, more illnesses/nervous breakdowns, unforeseen absenteeism, high employee turnover, employer-to-employee relationship issues and a host of other problems. Offering your employees an organization-funded vacation for even five-to-seven days should suffice—anything beyond that would be at their own expense

Here are four other reasons why employers should encourage and – *wince* – pay for their employee’s vacations:

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Better Physical Health

Okay, they won’t be coming back all buff and Captain American-ish, but it can’t be denied that vacation time does a lot to improve health. According to the New York Times, since stress can take a toll on your health, it’s crucial to take a vacation “just for your health’s sake”. A study conducted in 1948 and later published in 1992 called the Framingham Heart Study revealed that women who took a vacation once every six years or less were more likely to contract heart diseases. As Eaker, who carried out the study, said, there is “real evidence that vacations are important to your physical health.”

Higher Productivity

How can an employee be more productive when they return to work? By then, they have probably zoned out, with their thoughts still roaming more attractive concepts like the ocean and cocktails. But as Joe Robinson, a productivity trainer interviewed on the subject puts it, “Employees are taught to believe that bravado is the way to go – that more hours is better, but research shows the opposite.”

This also goes for employers who think productivity has a positive correlation with the number of hours worked. Research has shown otherwise. Put simply, the more work hours your employees put in, the more exhausted their minds and bodies become. Nonstop work not only increases fatigue but also stress— which is even more problematic.

According to the Oxford University survey mentioned in the same article, “75% of the managers who took time off reported feeling recharged and refreshed, and 41% said they felt “less stressed”.

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Increased Mental Power

While sleep does a lot to reset your mental energy, it can only be used in moderation on a daily basis. When levels of stress and fatigue surpass the amount of restorative ‘zzzzs’ you’ve managed to acquire, your body starts to function on ‘airplane mode’.

Agreed, yoga, exercise, and fun-filled weekends are all great ways to rejuvenate- but nothing beats the relaxation offered by vacations. According to UPMC, ranked among the top hospitals for neurosurgical care in U.S., the next time anyone wants to de-stress their brain, they should head to the sea. Marine biologist Wallace J. Nicholas states that the water triggers our “blue minds”: a state of “calm, peacefulness, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment.” In other words, a mental vacation for your employees means a restorative vacation for their brains as well.

Also, according to the U.S News, one of the many benefits of taking a vacation is improved mental health. As clinical psychologist Francine Lederer states, “”The impact that taking a vacation has on one’s mental health is profound. Most people have better life perspective and are more motivated to achieve their goals after a vacation, even if it is a 24-hour time-out”.

This leads us to the next point…

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Fresher Perspectives

Any good employer would want their employees to contribute to the organization in new ways through up-to-date knowledge. We may try the “adding to the talent pool” technique by hiring fresh employees with new ideas and perspectives. However, this can also be done with existing employees.

CNN reported how stepping back from work life can help you to gain insights, appreciate the current moment, and return to your life with a new sense of excitement. According to Adam Galinsky from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, “Detaching from a familiar environment can help you get new perspectives on everyday life.”

A simple example illustrates this point: when you discuss a problem with your friend, the friend is more likely to offer creative suggestions and useful advice you wouldn’t have otherwise thought of. This is because the friend has psychological distance from the problem at hand and is able to think more clearly about the problem than you, as you are all wrapped up in it.

Furthermore, travelling or vacationing abroad allows employees to connect with new environments and cultures, allowing them to learn new languages, and learn about cultural diversity, and tolerance. The mind-numbing routine back at home that often forces them to function in an unproductive machine-like mode can only be broken when that routine is reset with an entirely new location and situation.

Featured photo credit: Employee Retreat via flickr.com

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Last Updated on November 19, 2019

Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

I imagine that like me, you say that you never have enough time and that you just cannot cope with 60 dozen things all at once.

How on earth do you get out of that spiral?

Many people never sit down and look at how to work smarter, rather than harder and even longer hours. But not you, you’re smart enough to try to learn effective ways to work.

So how to work smarter not harder? Here are 12 smart ways you should be following:

1. Improve Your Time Management Skills

Easier said than done? Well, no actually, because there are a few simple rules that can really help you to manage time better.

For example, when setting up a top priority task, you need to switch off the phone and ignore your email first. Then you need to abandon any ideas of multitasking as that will slow you down and ruin your focus.

Finally, set a reasonable deadline and do everything in your power to meet it.

“When you’re born, you’re born with 30,000 days. That’s it. The best strategic planning I can give to you is to think about that.” — Sir Ray Avery

2. Speed up Your Typing and Use Shortcuts

These days we’re all keyboard slaves. So why not speed up your typing and try to get rid of the two finger syndrome. In fact, when you save 21 days per year just by typing fast!

This is exactly what I am doing now, so I cannot honestly say I am practicing what I preach!

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But help is at hand. Try some of these apps and games to help you type fast: 8 Most Effective Games and Apps to Learn to Type Fast

Using shortcuts on the keyboard is another time saver and can speed up your work.

For example, press F2 to rename a selected file, while CTRL + I will put selected text in italics.

There are so many of these. If you make the effort to learn them, they really can be helpful.

3. Learn How to Use Productivity Tools

It is well worth downloading all the useful tools and apps that can highly boost your productivity. Take a look at these 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools and install whatever fits your needs.

Now that is really a great way of working smarter, not harder.

4. Use Your Phone Wisely

Instead of writing emails, sometimes it’s better to pick up the phone and talk to the person responsible. It saves time, especially for important or urgent discussions.

If that colleague works in the same office, it is even better to go and talk to him or her. It gives you a break, you get some exercise and you actually make human contact which is becoming quite rare in this electronic world.

5. Keep a Tab on Your Tabs

If you are like me, you might well find that you have a ton of tabs open at the top of your browser.

In order to find the one you want, you have to search for them as they are off screen. Having all these tabs open slows down your browser too.

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One solution is to use OneTab which can keep a neat list on the screen of all these tabs when you want to quickly get to one of them or you want to remind yourself which ones you have open.

6. Use a “To Don’t” List

We all know about to do lists and I find that they are generally great. They give me a great sense of achievement as I cross off the tasks done.

But often, I find that we are doing non-essential tasks or ones that can easily be postponed. That is why many people recommend the to don’t list.[1]

Some people prefer to savagely prune the to do list while others prefer to have two separate lists, to do and to don’t. You just have to work out what works best for you when you are trying to save precious time to become more productive.

7. Expect Failure and Fight Paranoia

When failure rears its ugly head, some people get a bit paranoid and fear that this may become a trend.

Projects will go wrong and failure should be expected rather than feared. Learning lessons from failure and analyzing what went wrong is the best way forward.

“Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.” — Richard Branson

And here you can find 10 Great Lessons Highly Successful People Have Learned From Failure.

8. Be Concise

Rambling on at meetings, in emails and even when introducing yourself to new clients can waste a lot of people’s time.

One way is to practice and sharpen your “elevator speech,”[2] which tells people in 30 seconds or less why they need your skills and how they can benefit from doing business with you.

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Just think of the many situations where this could be useful:

  • Making new contacts
  • Talking about yourself at a job interview
  • Meeting people at conferences or parties
  • Phone calls to new clients

9. Ask the Right Questions

“You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” — Naguib Mahfouz

How do you get feedback? The secret is to ask the right questions at the right time.

When you do this, you are gathering the information you need to help in decision making. This will save you time and you will be able to cut meetings to a minimum.

Forbes magazine reports on research that they carried out on asking the right questions.[3] When that happens, the positive effects are increased by 400%. There are also other benefits in staff motivation and a positive impact on the company’s bottom line.

Lifehack’s CEO Leon has shared about how to ask for feedback to learn faster: How to Learn Quickly And Master Any Skill You Want

10. Learn as Much as You Can

You should always be on a steep learning curve. Look at your skills profile and determine where you need to fill a gap. Talk to important connections and network in your niche.

Keep up to date on trends and developments. It is a fact-changing world. When an opportunity arises, you will be the best equipped to seize it because you have never stopped learning. Just another way of working smarter.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” — Mahatma Gandhi

11. Look After Your Greatest Resource

No, your greatest resource is not time. It is YOU.

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If you do not get enough sleep, exercise and relaxation, you find that you become less and less productive. You begin to work longer and longer hours, which is the exact opposite of what you want.

What you should be doing is making sure you are in the best shape. It is useful to remember that you need a break of 15 minutes after every one and a half hours of work.[4]

Taking breaks and getting fresh air and exercise is one of the best ways of working smarter, not harder.

12. Don’t Fall into the Trap of Working Smarter and Harder

As a society, we are obsessed with doing everything smarter so we are more efficient and we save time all around.[5]

But the most important thing to remember is to accept when we are ready to switch off that computer and not fill up the time with even more work!

The Bottom Line

The key to greater productivity is to work smarter, not harder. Working smarter saves precious time and energy for the things that really matter — your life goals, your personal growth, your health and your relationships.

Stop working for more hours and start working smarter!

More About Working Smart

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

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