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Battling Employee Burnout: Are Company-wide Vacations Here to Stay?

Rest and relaxation. That’s the goal of any vacation. Yet, many of us find ourselves scrolling through work emails as we put our toes in the sand or searching for a signal from the vacation cabin as we try to squeeze in a few more urgent calls. Let’s admit it, sometimes it’s hard to fully unplug. A 2021 study from MyPerfectResume found that 82% of those surveyed work on vacation.

Woman in tent looking at phone while a man stands on the beach looking at the ocean

The Struggle with Disconnecting

Why is disconnecting so hard? For some, the desire to check in while clocked out is rooted in their desire to stay up to date and ensure projects don’t stall, with 37% of respondents citing that they work on vacation to “be on top of things.” The compulsion to check that latest voicemail or make a dent in the post-vacation email avalanche can drive people to be partially connected on vacation. Alternatively, others work while on vacation in avoidance of negative impressions, with 37% of respondents reporting that have been “vacation shamed by someone at work.” For those in a leadership role, the worry of not having anyone that can work in their place can cause them to feel like they can’t step away. In some instances, it is the workplace itself that pressures employees to work on vacation, with 66% reporting that their boss contacted them to do work while on vacation.

Yet, failing to switch off those work notifications leads to sacrificing much-needed rest, subsequently reducing long-term productivity and morale while increasing fatigue and the likelihood of burnout.

A Shifting Mindset

A sign that reads 'closed'

Several companies have set out to address the root of the issue by instituting company-wide vacations, in which businesses close their offices and all employees are given the same week of paid leave. It’s much easier to unplug when managers and peers are doing the same thing. This collective leave allows everyone to invest in their physical and mental health and truly detach. Companies such as Hootsuite, LinkedIn, Bumble and Mailchimp, have all opted to give collective weeks off.

With a belief that productivity requires ample breaks, Hootsuite introduced a company-wide Wellness Week, a collective week of paid vacation separate from each employee’s vacation allotment. The week was designed to allow all employees to unplug together. The collective break removes the guilt or burden to check notifications or catch up upon return to the office. The inarguable Wellness Week took place between July 5 to 12, 2021. Hootsuite’s built-in breaks allow its employees to rest, recover and recharge their capacity to perform.

Particularly within such an employee-driven job market, implementing changes that prioritize mental health is paramount. It’s important to give employees the tools, resources and time to look after their mental health and wellness. Offering perks that help combat burnout will help you stand out and retain talent.

Now, you don’t have to immediately jump to giving a full week off. If you are on the fence, start small. Give a two-day break or schedule Fridays as half days for a month and gather your employee’s feedback. Use those responses to guide future decisions.

Maybe it’s not possible for you to completely close. Instead, consider giving entire teams synchronized time off. This would allow managers and workers within a team to be off at the same time.

Implementing it for Yourself

To get the most out of your company-wide holiday, create targeted announcements that explain the decision. Rather than sending a companywide email, consider designing a personalized mailer that announces the synchronized time off. The mailer would showcase your commitment to employees’ mental health and provide them with strategically selected products to help them unplug and recharge over the break, reinforcing your company message.

Need help crafting the message and strategically selecting products? We’re here to assist! Email or call (859) 303-4544 to speak with a representative.

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