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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 July 16, 2019

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

Office politics – a taboo word for some people. It’s a pervasive thing at the workplace.

In its simplest form, workplace politics is simply about the differences between people at work; differences in opinions, conflicts of interests are often manifested as office politics. It all goes down to human communications and relationships.

There is no need to be afraid of office politics. Top performers are those who have mastered the art of winning in office politics. Below are 7 good habits to help you win at the workplace:

1. Be Aware You Have a Choice

The most common reactions to politics at work are either fight or flight. It’s normal human reaction for survival in the wild, back in the prehistoric days when we were still hunter-gatherers.

Sure, the office is a modern jungle, but it takes more than just instinctive reactions to win in office politics. Instinctive fight reactions will only cause more resistance to whatever you are trying to achieve; while instinctive flight reactions only label you as a pushover that people can easily take for granted. Neither options are appealing for healthy career growth.

Winning requires you to consciously choose your reactions to the situation. Recognize that no matter how bad the circumstances, you have a choice in choosing how you feel and react. So how do you choose? This bring us to the next point…

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2. Know What You Are Trying to Achieve

When conflicts happen, it’s very easy to be sucked into tunnel-vision and focus on immediate differences. That’s a self-defeating approach. Chances are, you’ll only invite more resistance by focusing on differences in people’s positions or opinions.

The way to mitigate this without looking like you’re fighting to emerge as a winner in this conflict is to focus on the business objectives. In the light of what’s best for the business, discuss the pros and cons of each option. Eventually, everyone wants the business to be successful; if the business don’t win, then nobody in the organization wins.

It’s much easier for one to eat the humble pie and back off when they realize the chosen approach is best for the business.

By learning to steer the discussion in this direction, you will learn to disengage from petty differences and position yourself as someone who is interested in getting things done. Your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is mature, strategic and can be entrusted with bigger responsibilities.

3. Focus on Your Circle of Influence

At work, there are often issues which we have very little control over. It’s not uncommon to find corporate policies, client demands or boss mandates which affects your personal interests.

Gossiping and complaining are common responses to these events that we cannot control. But think about it, other than that short term emotional outlet, what tangible results do gossiping really accomplish? In most instances, none.

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Instead of feeling victimized and angry about the situation, focus on the things that you can do to influence the situation — your circle of influence. This is a very empowering technique to overcome the feeling of helplessness. It removes the victimized feeling and also allows others to see you as someone who knows how to operate within given constraints.

You may not be able to change or decide on the eventual outcome but, you can walk away knowing that you have done the best within the given circumstances.

Constraints are all around in the workplace; with this approach, your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is understanding and positive.

4. Don’t Take Sides

In office politics, it is possible to find yourself stuck in between two power figures who are at odds with each other. You find yourself being thrown around while they try to outwit each other and defend their own position; all at the expense of you getting the job done. You can’t get them to agree on a common decision for a project, and neither of them want to take ownership of issues; they’re too afraid they’ll get stabbed in the back for any mishaps.

In cases like this, focus on the business objectives and don’t take side with either of them – even if you like one better than the other. Place them on a common communication platform and ensure open communications among all parties, so that no one can claim “I didn’t say that”.

By not taking sides, you’ll help to direct conflict resolution in an objective manner. You’ll also build trust with both parties. That’ll help to keep the engagements constructive and focus on business objectives.

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5. Don’t Get Personal

In office politics, you’ll get angry with people. It happens. There will be times when you feel the urge to give that person a piece of your mind and teach him a lesson. Don’t.

People tend to remember moments when they were humiliated or insulted. Even if you win this argument and get to feel really good about it for now, you’ll pay the price later when you need help from this person. What goes around comes around, especially at the workplace.

To win in the office, you’ll want to build a network of allies which you can tap into. The last thing you want during a crisis or an opportunity is to have someone screw you up because they harbor ill-intentions towards you – all because you’d enjoyed a brief moment of emotional outburst at their expense.

Another reason to hold back your temper is your career advancement. Increasingly, organizations are using 360 degree reviews to promote someone. Even if you are a star performer, your boss will have to fight a political uphill battle if other managers or peers see you as someone who is difficult to work with. The last thing you’ll want is to make it difficult for your boss to champion you for a promotion.

6. Seek to Understand, Before Being Understood

The reason people feel unjustified is because they felt misunderstood. Instinctively, we are more interested in getting the others to understand us than to understand them first. Top people managers and business leaders have learned to suppress this urge.

Surprisingly, seeking to understand is a very disarming technique. Once the other party feels that you understand where he/she is coming from, they will feel less defensive and be open to understand you in return. This sets the stage for open communications to arrive at a solution that both parties can accept.

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Trying to arrive at a solution without first having this understanding is very difficult – there’s little trust and too much second-guessing.

7. Think Win-Win

As mentioned upfront, political conflicts happen because of conflicting interests. Perhaps due to our schooling, we are taught that to win, someone else needs to lose. Conversely, we are afraid to let someone else win, because it implies losing for us.

In business and work, that doesn’t have to be the case.

Learn to think in terms of “how can we both win out of this situation?” This requires that you first understand the other party’s perspective and what’s in it for him.

Next, understand what’s in it for you. Strive to seek out a resolution that is acceptable and beneficial to both parties. Doing this will ensure that everyone truly commit to the agreed resolution and will not pay only lip-service to it.

People simply don’t like to lose. You may get away with win-lose tactics once or twice but very soon, you’ll find yourself without allies in the workplace.

Thinking win-win is an enduring strategy that builds allies and help you win in the long term.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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