With both Christmas and New Year’s days falling on a Wednesday this year, many office workers have enjoyed additional time off. Companies have decided to “bridge the gap” by giving employees two days of post-holiday rest. And why not? Don’t underestimate the value of vacations. Holidays are rewarding for both workers and corporations.
For employees, vacations can mean getting more sleep or simply avoiding the agonies of the daily commute. Best of all, time-off means no meetings. One needn’t wait for “Fred” to get his microphone to work, or squint at the illegible spreadsheet that “Jan” has shared from her screen. There is no need to check that the “mute” button is on, or to pretend to be paying attention. Yes, holidays are great for reducing employee stress.
To be successful, employee vacations come with some basic ground rules. For example: Three day weekends don’t count. After accounting for the time spent organizing, traveling and (un)packing, these short breaks can actually prove more stressful than a relaxing long weekend at home. It should go without saying that vacationing employees should not take calls from work. Work emergencies can and do occur, but a strong argument can be made that companies that cannot live without a particular employee for a week are not properly staffed. Need I even mention that vacationers should avoid checking their work emails?
The employee argument in favor of vacations seems obvious. What about the company’s? Outside of a happier employee returning to a desk and mailbox full of work, are there benefits? There certainly are. Managers can learn a great deal from the absence of a particular worker. Did anyone even notice? Were the remaining workers happier? Did office morale improve? Was an underling able to handle the new or added workload? In extreme cases, employee absences allow managers to perform audits and uncover possible malfeasance. Employee absences do not always make managers’ hearts grow fonder.
So, why am I writing a blog when I should be vacationing?
Let’s just say that the aforementioned holiday down-time has recharged my batteries. Although I am not seated by the pool in a luxurious Caribbean island resort pondering my next refreshment, I am enjoying some “away time” nonetheless. Were it not for the radio silence offered by 2019’s midweek holidays, my four month blog-sabbatical would be ongoing; it’s just too tempting to blame my lack of production on “excessive work” or family distractions. So, at the risk of butchering an old holiday cliche: Yes, Virginia, there is a value to vacations.
Peter has spent the past twenty-plus years as an acting/consulting CFO for a number of small businesses in a wide range of industries. Peter’s prior experience is that of a serial entrepreneur, managing various start-up and turnaround projects. He is a co-founder of Keurig.