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The Strategic Value of Time off



Competitive athletes know that rest is an essential—and productive—part of achieving their goals. Pairing focused work with intentional rest is the best way to get results. Unfortunately, this principle is often overlooked in the workplace.


According to a survey by Quickbooks, 61% of employees don’t use all their paid time off and 70% report working while taking paid time off. Some employers have taken the drastic step of offering unlimited time off. In those companies, the plurality of employees takes 1-5 days off per year—half of the national average. These habits lead to health concerns and employee burnout. How can you encourage a positive rhythm of work and rest and your organization? We have three tips.


Value your employees holistically. A wise supervisor knows that their employees are not just means to an objective, but an integral part of their organization and its success. Be explicit about the importance of work-life balance. Your practices should reflect that you expect your employees to work hard, but also to take care of themselves.

Lead by example. One of the most effective ways you can foster a healthy workplace environment is by taking vacations and unplugging on the weekends yourself. Unless it’s an emergency, don’t email your employees on Saturday afternoon. Respect their time off and take your own. If leadership is always connected, employees quickly learn that the only way to get ahead in an organization is to be a workaholic.

Facilitate connection. Summer is vacation season. Provide opportunities for employees to reconnect and hear about one another’s adventures through staff lunches and company picnics. Too many institutions miss out on this wonderful juncture for team building. Celebrate the ways employees have recharged and gained perspective through their time away.