New data from WorkScore shows that employees who take their annual leave are more productive at work, less stressed and are happier at work than those who don’t take their leave. Told you. Blindingly obvious. WorkScore recently reviewed the scores of over 250 employees and discovered that a staggering one in five employees has not taken their annual leave in the last 12 months. When people are stressed and yet they don’t take their leave, there is something hidden that needs to be unveiled. Of those 250 interviewed, 40% feel that their workplace does not encourage staff to take annual leave benefits and 45% felt either guilty or anxious before taking leave.
Take a real break
This is a vicious cycle. Employees want a break so they can relax, clear their head and when they come back to work actually be able to focus. Employers want their employees to focus without them taking leave. The answer to both their problems is for the employee to take their leave. It is a false economy for employers to create a work culture that discourages this. WorkScore asked employees to rate their productivity whilst at work and found that those that fell below average are the ones who feel anxious and guilty before taking time off. They were also more likely to feel anxious during their leave if they took it, often compulsively checking emails and not being able to truly relax. They may have well stayed at work. Whereas those who were above average for productivity, felt less anxious and more relaxed whilst on their leave, not worrying about emails and being able to fully relax.
CEOs and burnout
You only have to listen to a few podcasts or follow a few Instagram accounts of top CEOs and entrepreneurs to realise that most of them have identified that they need a lifestyle coach. For the precise reason for stopping burnout. Despite all their creative, buzzy, business minds going 100 miles an hour, the main lesson their lifestyle coaches teach them is to stop. Slow down. Have a break. It’s okay not to be doing something. The lifestyle coach business is booming in California. Although that’s the macro, all we need to do is take these lessons micro and apply it to our everyday lives.
Thankfully employees are starting to realise the mental health and productivity benefits of taking their leave. However, companies still don’t seem to understand that their staff’s annual leave is a solution to their problem. Suzanne, co-founder of WorkScore says ‘the good news is that employees are recognising that taking annual leave is a way to improve wellbeing and reduce burnout’. Another common term in the business world is work-life-balance. And this is one that we want in our vocabulary and work culture. Work-life-balance breaks the vicious cycle and creates a smooth harmony between employer and employee. Suzanne adds ‘encouraging employees to take their full-time annual leave entitlement should become a business priority as it improves employee productivity, morale and reduces stress. Workplaces should also discourage employees from working whilst on leave and allow them to fully switch off from work’.
There you have it. Taking your ENTITLED annual leave is a sure way to stop burnout and allow you to fully relax and reset. Be proactive about it by taking this lesson into your workplace culture and soon you’ll be able to enjoy your results from afar. Quite literally, if you take this seriously. Go sit in a cafe in Paris, lay on a beach in Hawaii or just rewatch Game of Thrones in the comfort of your home.
This article was written by freelance writer, Lachlan Cornell