To maintain optimal performance its important to take a step back and unplug every once in a while. We live in a digital world where that concept is nearly impossible with email, social media and message boards such as slack, it seems as though a “ping” is just a moment away from your employees next break. More and more “unlimited vacation” has become a part of corporate culture, but with that often comes less and less PTO.
As you assemble your team its likely you’ve targeted the over-achievers who need to be reminded to take a break. Being busy doesn’t always mean productive, especially if your employees are spread too thin to focus. “We are energy machines. We have to replenish the energy we expend,” says Joe Robinson, the Santa Monica, California-based author of Work to Live and a work/life balance and productivity speaker and trainer.
How can businesses help encourage employees to take a holiday from work to help employees manage stress levels and avoid burning out?
Below are 4 tips to create a culture that supports periodic unplugs to help your employees be more productive and less stressed:
1. Planning & Communications – Having plans in place creates a less stressful environment for everyone. Knowing that there’s someone to cover for you, event with the leanest teams, allows employees to decrease their anticipatory anxiety when asking for their day(s) off. And in return allows the company to know there will always be someone to ensure nothing slips through the cracks. Providing flexible work hours and work from home policies will also help the process.
2. Mandatory Black-outs – Although it may not be feasible to close the entire office for an extended period of time, letting employees know they should only respond to critical emails after hours and on vacation comes from the top down. Creating a culture that fosters prioritization and the ability to just say “no” when necessary will leave employees feeling less overwhelmed.
3. Office Yoga & Meditation – You can’t make your employees go to yoga but if you bring the yoga to them the obstacles to say “yes” decrease. Implement weekly, or even monthly, unwind at work events to encourage employees to pause and reset. Various services exist in the B2B space but one of our favorites is Exubrancy a company that provides onsite meditation, massage and fitness.
4. Find Balance – A complete unplug may not be feasible, or wanted. The idea of an overflowing inbox upon return from time-off can create just as much anxiety as the non-stop connection. Check work email once or twice during the online hiatus and respond only to something that is pressing. Tools such as Boomerang for Gmail, provide reminders for the non-pressing follow-up.
Productive people focus on being effective – they work smart. Remembering to unplug and unwind to improve outcomes.