According to a YouGov survey, almost a third of UK workers are not using their full holiday allowance.
This is indicative of a rising culture in the UK whereby work-life balance is being neglected. Not only is this having an impact on the wellbeing of staff, it’s also affecting employers too. Virgin boss Richard Branson recently introduced a policy allowing staff to decide how much holiday they want to take, as a means of improving wellbeing and increasing productivity.
Although you might not have the means to implement a policy on this scale, this blog provides a guide as to why encouraging staff to take time off is vital for your business.
Time away from work helps maintain optimum brain health. Continuous time on-task can cause stress, fatigue and a negative mood which ultimately drains your ability to focus. When we give our brains a chance to relax, we are more likely to be able to think ‘outside the box’ and come up with creative solutions to problems.
To explain this in scientific terms, the brain’s frontal lobe, which is responsible for planning and decision making, works more creatively when the brain is quiet. When it is not actively tackling a task, the brain connects random ideas with previous knowledge and turns these into new concepts, therefore boosting creativity.
When people feel stressed, the body releases the hormone cortisol, and elevated levels of this can interfere with your ability to learn and remember things. It is also linked to a lower immune function, increased weight gain and higher blood pressure and can lead to depression over a sustained period. If employees begin to suffer from these sorts of health problems as a result of stress, it could have a long-term impact on business productivity. Therefore, taking a relaxing holiday with minimal levels of stress could be a key factor towards maximising employees’ performance.
Multitasking doesn’t always work as effectively as you think it does. Everyone’s brain needs a break from technology and it is a fallacy that trying to complete several tasks at once makes people more productive. Despite the best efforts, the brain is not programmed to perform more than one task at once.
Therefore, when staff go on holiday, it is important that you as an employer encourage them to have a proper break and disconnect themselves from technology. This way, staff are more likely to return to work feeling rested, invigorated and hopefully bursting with creative new ideas, which will ultimately help your business in the long run.