The current upheaval in the workforce is complex, with many factors and just as many outcomes. Yet, it has made one thing clear: workers care about quality of life. If you expect your employees to show up and work hard, you must also respect the importance of time away from the office to recharge. Even for employees who are passionate about their job, overwork will sabotage their effectiveness, not enhance it. We need time away to rest and to gain perspective. As we approach the holiday season, here are three ways you can make sure the holidays are the well-earned break your team needs to thrive:
1. Plan ahead. Start your discussion about holiday time off early. If there are areas with needed coverage, think through what they are and how to fairly share the load among your team. In addition to the time they will actually take off, make sure to adjust expectations for the weeks before vacations, as employees may have more on their plate than normal.
2. Make your priorities clear. Let your team know that you want them to take the time off they need in order to enjoy the holidays with loved ones. Too many supervisors begrudge time off and employees internalize those expectations. Be explicit about your good intentions. Workaholic cultures breed burnout, not productivity.
3. Respect time away. We all know we should avoid contacting a coworker while they are out of the office, but holding ourselves to that standard can be another matter. Use tools to maintain communication without imposition. Have a central calendar where employees can clearly mark when they will be away and when they will return so there is no ambiguity. Be creative by using scheduled emails so you don’t inundate their inbox while they are away. Create a shared document where team members can log items that need to be communicated. This keeps items from slipping through the cracks, while respecting boundaries.