Want to Keep Your Staff Happy? Send Them Far Away!

Out of office, gone on vacation
Five reasons why vacations are necessary for maintaining healthy, happy and motivated employees and the one reason you should do it, the bottom line.

By Gil Koren

  1. Stress used to be a good thing meant initially to help keep us safe. Stress releases hormones such as epinephrine and cortisol bringing on the fight or flight response that was necessary for early man. It was a good thing when the body tightened up from within, sending a signal to the brain to make a quick judgement to either put up the fists or turn and run. The same hormones now cause chronic stress which is harmful and can be destructive to the body. Time away from work (usually a significant cause of stress, no matter how much we try and change that). Can provide a much-needed break from the constant high levels of these hormones and give the body a chance to repair some of the damage.
  2. One of the major contributing factors of Heart Disease and high blood pressure is stress. Long-term studies have found that vacations can reduce the risk of heart disease or heart attack. Regular holidays have been proven to reduce the chances of dying from a heart attack by 35% in men and 50% for women.
  3. Focus, continuous work without breaks or vacations can bring about feelings of distraction, lack of focus and problems concentrating. Once again the simple answer is time off, vacationing. Studies have found three-quarters of people that vacation regularly feel more energised and ready to tackle the task their job requires of them. Neuroscience has found that chronic exposure to stress hormones contributing to depression and anxiety can alter brain structure. Relaxation is much needed to give the brain and body time to heal and mend itself.
  4. Productivity seems counter intuitive, but studies have proven that vacations motivate and help workers relax, which in turn increases productivity when at work. Liberal vacation policies improve quality of life for employees, translating into increased work quality. Employees reported feeling more creative after returning from vacations, and over 70% reported feeling more satisfied with their jobs.
  5. Better Sleep. Disrupted sleep and restless nights are common complaints in high achieving individuals, just because we have too much on the mind. Too much internal conversation, too much to remember for tomorrow and also too much chatter affects sleep. A lack of sleep leads to less us, decreased alertness, impaired memory, higher risk of accidents and a general decrease in quality of life. Research has proven that a vacation, sleeping in a different bed, different sheets, without thoughts of whether or not that email has been sent or the dryer was emptied out. Can disrupt sleep patterns forcing them to reset, sometimes as quickly as two or three nights.

Bottom Line. It might be hard to imagine, but affording your employees the opportunity to vacation and relax properly, actually helps the company even more in the long run. 53% of Canadians opted for a “staycation” in 2017, not because binge watching Netflix or sanding the deck in the backyard is a more alluring option than laying on a sunny beach in Mexico or zip lining the rain forests of Costa Rica. But because 75% of those deciding to “staycation” could not afford to vacation. It would be in any companies best interest to help its employees in reducing stress and heart disease, improve focus, and productivity. Aren’t these the reasons companies are spending more and more on wellness programs and other HR initiatives. Vacations should not be considered a luxury, but a necessity in growing any business, improving any corporate culture, in turn, fuelling motivation, innovation, and productivity.

3 Comments on “Want to Keep Your Staff Happy? Send Them Far Away!”

  1. I can’t help but agree with your assessment on the importance of vacation benefits. As someone who likes the excitement of stress when it comes to getting things done, I can also say that eventually the stress catches up. If you know how to use stress right, it can be an asset. However, it has its costs and consequently, you will be burnt out if you overdo it. Everyone needs a break, no matter how young or fit they are. Sometimes people need a physical break, other times a mental break. If you don’t take a vacation (even a three or four-day weekend), you are going to lose productivity. Worse, once you burn out, it can take a long time to get yourself back to top form. Wellness is important for employees and employers need to make sure their employees take care of themselves.

  2. Gil, this is super good! With this piece I can stand to prove why employees should go on vacations at intervals. While they work to increase the firm’s revenue and get paid too, it’s necessary to consider their happiness and health. Meanwhile, I’d like to be clear about this – the number of heart diseases doesn’t seem to be going down, does this mean that it can be attributed to the stressful works employees do without breaks?

  3. I’m not an employer yet. Presently, I work for an IT firm and the workload is too much. The worse is they don’t seem to remember vacations exist! I don’t know how to throw up the idea as I’m quite afraid I might be seen as the bad egg. Reading the benefits of vacation Gil discussed in this post, I can’t agree any less that I’m missing out on a whole lot. Maybe I’ll speak out in our next meeting. Thanks for the information Gil.

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