As part of our Seven Spokes of Wellness: Redefining Employee Vacations
We need a brain break, a detour from deadlines, and a timeout from technology!
Vacations help shrink stress and anxiety while boosting the mental and physical health of the employee and their family. Unfortunately, 43 percent of Canadians do not take their full allotment of annual vacation time according to Environics Research Group. Long work hours and not taking appropriate time away from work hampers employees’ ability to harmonize work and family life, and is also associated with health risks, such as increased smoking and alcohol consumption, weight gain and depression. Annual vacations increase workplace productivity, reduce turnover and improve morale.
Are Employee Vacations Really that Important?
A host of studies have highlighted the cardiovascular-health benefits of taking a vacation, including:
- The Prevention of Coronary Heart Disease sponsored by the National Institutes of Health’s Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute followed 12,000 men over a nine-year period that had a high risk for coronary heart disease. The study found that any such men who take frequent annual vacations were 21 percent less likely to die from any cause and were 32 percent less likely to die from heart disease.
- The landmark Framingham Heart Study – the largest and longest-running study of cardiovascular disease – revealed that men who did not take a vacation for several years were 30 percent more likely to have heart attacks compared to men who did. Women who took less frequent vacations were almost eight times more likely to develop coronary heart disease or have a heart attack compared to women who vacationed annually.
- Ernst & Young conducted an internal study of its employees and found that, for each additional 10 hours of vacation employees took, their year-end performance ratings improved 8 percent, and frequent vacationers were significantly less likely to leave the firm.
- Additionally, research by the Boston Consulting Group found that high-level professionals who were required to take time off were significantly more productive overall than those who spent more time working.
- The International Foundation of Employee Benefits Plans, found that 66 percent of surveyed companies cited vacation as the top nontraditional wellness initiative.
Evernote CEO, Phil Libin, was so encouraged by the positive results of employee vacations, that he is following Netflix in offering employees unlimited paid vacations. “We don’t pay people hourly,” Libin says. “We’re paying you for your mind. What makes you more productive is what you should do.”
SuiteBreak.com – New Employee Wellness Program Redefining Employee Vacations
Employee vacations are a part of every company, commonly categorized as an employee benefit. “Annual vacations are simply too important to be classified as an employee benefit and should be seen as a wellness benefit”, according to Anthony Calderon, SuiteBreak.com. In today’s fast paced work culture, vacations are an investment in our individual and organizational health. For employees, vacations=fun and relaxation. For companies, annual employee vacations are an investment with strong returns that include reduced healthcare costs, illness, injury and absenteeism and improved employee relations, morale and productivity.
A joint survey by SHRM and the US Travel Association, found that employers felt that one vacation a year was very or extremely important in:
- Achieving and maintaining a high level of performance = 94%
- Maintaining high employee morale = 92%
- Promoting employee wellness = 92%
- Maintaining a positive organizational culture = 90%
- Improving productivity = 90%
- Employee retention = 88%
- Inspiring creativity = 70%
SuiteBreak.com is a wellness portal, and is the first of its kind to promote the benefits of employee vacations as a wellness solution. They aim to transform public perception so that using personal time off is not considered frivolous, but essential to strengthening families and improving personal health.
Vacation education is vastly overlooked, and just as important as educating employees on proper diet and exercise. Click to tweet
They believe that one vacation a year can do more for a company’s wellness culture than any other wellness solution. “In a world where diet, exercise and screenings dominate, vacations offer something to look forward to”, says Calderon. “Here is a wellness solution that is enjoyable and that doesn’t say eat this not that, or that you are a failure in some way”.
While vacations are a part of every company, Suitebreak.com feels that employers are not using their significant wellness value to complete their “culture of wellness”. “Instead, employees are shown ways to lose weight, improve their diet and stop smoking. Everyone talks about “engagement”, but how engaging can standard wellness solutions really be?” says Calderon.
SuiteBreak.com educates employees and employers and provides an interactive site that walks employees through the planning process. Part of the program includes $250 Wellness Rewards that take dollar for reward off the lowest online price at over 200,000 destinations worldwide. SuiteBreak.com takes employee vacations and turns them into an engaging wellness solution.
According to Oxford Economics’ The Return on Investment in U.S. Business Travel, non-cash rewards have been found to be two to three times more effective than cash rewards. But why do travel incentives work better than cold, hard cash? It is because non-cash incentives capture employees’ attention and imagination. Even when the value of these incentives is equal to a cash reward, employees are engaged on a completely different, more memorable level. Envisioning a vacation reward and the lingering anticipation of the experience are more present in their minds over time than the impending arrival of a gift card.
“Travel incentives have the additional advantage of motivating not only the recipients, but also those around them. The act of sharing these experiences with co-workers after they return from a vacation is enough to realize the value of the reward to the rest of the group. The social aspect of travel incentives provides a layer of motivation that cannot be matched in a cash-only reward environment,” states Anthony Calderon, SuiteBreak.com. For more information on enrolling in their corporate wellness program, please visit SuiteBreak.com, and click Corporate Programs.
A 2015 CareerBuilder.ca survey shows that:
- 30 per cent of Canadian workers check their work email while on vacation.
- 32 per cent of workers say they have come back from a trip away with so much accumulated that they wish they had never taken time off at all
Leaders are in the best position to help employees get the most out of their vacation time so that they can come back to work rejuvenated and more productive.
- Encourage employees to use their time allotted time off.
- Help them to organize their workload and responsibilities so that they can leave knowing that issues have been properly planned for.
- Communicate standards around checking email and to the office while on vacation, as well as co-workers connecting to the employee while they are on vacation.
- Allow employees to celebrate their vacation time and to share their experiences with their co-workers as this has a positive ripple out impact on others and encourages the whole team to use their time off, creating a positive wellness environment.
- Use your time off and get away from the office. You are a role model to your team and your behaviour speaks volumes to those around you.
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If you have some strategies to share – comment on this posting!
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