If you work at an office, chances are the holiday season brings with it many familiar traditions. From sweet delectables on coworkers’ desks to extended lunch hours and leisurely online Christmas shopping, American employees dutifully trek to their desks despite thin year-end schedules and seasonal office closures. Worse yet, they do so with unused vacation days in the bank.
As a company that helps other organizations with their employee benefits needs, we’ve given a lot of thought to developing more meaningful workplace experiences for ourselves and our clients. Nowhere can we think to better utilize an existing benefit than encouraging personnel to take earned and needed time off. And this is the perfect time to do so for many personnel.
Americans rank vacation time second only to health care plans for their most valued employer-sponsored benefit. And a whopping 97% of employers already offer it. It’s little wonder, because research shows us that this time provides an invaluable opportunity for rest, recuperation, and reconnection with people and things outside our office walls.
Yet the phenomenon of workplace vacation guilt runs so rampant that not taking accrued time-off has its own name: ‘employee martyrdom’. Campaigns like Project: Time Off seek to cure our nation of our love/hate relationship with vacation, but the sad reality is that we’ve been on a downward trend since 2000, using less vacation time with each passing year.
Instead of killing company time and punching the clock as so many do at this time of year, a day spent making holiday memories with our kids would bring more light to our season and a kick in our step when we return to the office. A few days hitting the slopes and enjoying an apres-ski fireside cocoa can offer greater health and pleasure when we return to the office. And a weeklong trip overseas may be just what the doctored ordered while simultaneously motivating us to meet our 2017 goals.
Do we really need data to tell us that sitting around a half-empty office with a wide open calendar is an inefficient use of our time? Over a century ago, doctors recommended vacation time as a way to combat what they referred to as ‘brain fatigue’. Since then, some of the most successful brands have found their genesis in time-off.
Examples of the vacation silver bullet abound. It’s time organizations, managers and talent take advantage of what we already have to reinvigorate ourselves for the new year.
Ursa Major Team
Ursa Major Consulting’s founding year has been everything I hoped it would be and much more. As we collectively reflect on 2016 and look ahead to 2017, I am struck by how much has been accomplished with the help of our partners and clients.
Embarking on this journey just twelve months ago, I was armed with nothing but a belief that organizations and their people prosper when they collaborate with bright thinkers, identify key outcomes, and integrate innovative solutions for employee benefits. I had no idea how well the message would resonate or how many would be willing to help me on this journey.
In the spirit of the season, we extend our gratitude to all who have played a role in our first year by joining 1% for the Planet. Ongoing, a portion of our revenue will go to support positive change in the world beyond the benefits space. This year, we give thanks to everyone who has been a part of the journey thus far by making a contribution to the Calaveras Big Trees Association- home of the last surviving Giant Sequoia and a place whose solitude calls us to rest and recharge.
We wish you tranquility, abundance, and health this holiday season and look forward to your continued support and idea exchange in 2017.
Founder and President
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