Why Taking Vacations is Essential for Productivity

Are you in the habit of making sure your staff is regularly taking their earned vacation time before it disappears at the end of the year? Because chances are — according to a recent survey conducted by Glassdoor — they’re not. The average U.S. employee eligible for paid time off only takes about half their earned time each year. Not only that, but when they are on vacation, 66 percent say they continue to work while away from the office.

On the one hand, that kind of dedication to one’s job is pretty impressive and good to have on your side. But on the flip side, foregoing much-needed vacation time can have a negative impact, not just on your staff’s personal health, but on their ability to adequately fulfill their job responsibilities. This is why some companies have actually begun to institute mandatory vacation policies; some even take it one step further and forbid those employees from checking in or exchanging emails during a time they should be relaxing and unplugging.

This is a topic that strikes us, in particular, because the technology we provide helps to streamline your business’s workflow processes — from device and vehicle tracking to Advanced Wireless Forms to timekeeping, and beyond — and, in doing so, can return significant savings and profit. But it all starts with the people you’ve entrusted to keep your business running, so you want to make sure they are on top of their game.

A study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies took a look at the effects of extended vacations on people, monitoring their health and wellness throughout the time spent away from their responsibilities. In addition to vacations in general having a positive impact, the longevity of those benefits was prolonged for those who fully immersed themselves in vacation experiences while away from work.

Workers that are too tired and/or stressed can easily find themselves falling into unintentionally sloppy habits. According to Advantage Behavioral Health, vacations actually “shrink stress and anxiety.” Not to mention, some extra time in the sun promotes physical wellbeing, in the form of vitamin D which they say can help to prevent various forms of cancer.

There are also some cardiovascular benefits to regularly taking a break from the hustle and bustle. A Framingham Heart Study reported that men who let several years lapse without taking any vacations are 30 percent more likely to experience heart attacks than those who take at least one week each year. And women who only vacation once every six years are eight times more likely to experience the same, or develop coronary heart disease, than women who take at least two a year.

Happy, healthy employees are the key to keeping your business running like a well-oiled machine. So do encourage your staff to take that time off. And then maximize their efficiency on the job with our suite of tools. Your fully energized team will not only be in tip-top shape, but will have the resources at their fingertips to optimize their time.

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Open-Concept Offices: Yay or Nay?

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the open concept has infiltrated homes everywhere and they aren’t likely going away anytime soon. Walls are coming down to make way for expansive, less-restrictive mega-rooms, where each dedicated area seamlessly flows into the next. And it’s not just in the home. Thanks largely to the surge of startup companies (many out in Silicon Valley, where real estate is a prime, budgets are budding, and new business ventures are a dime a dozen), the movement has made its way into the office.

Like any situation, there are pros and cons when it comes to open-concept offices, so if it’s an idea you’ve been toying with for your own company, take a moment to consider these before jumping on the bandwagon and make sure it’s really for you before committing.

Con: Lack of Privacy
Cubicles may not provide the utmost amount of privacy, but those three medium-height walls tend to give employees a sense of having their own space apart from everyone else. Take away those walls and some people will no doubt start to feel claustrophobic … in a different sense; there’s a certain amount of anxiety that can arise when a person feels they don’t have a place to (for lack of a better word) escape to.

Pro: Lack of Privacy
On the flip side, when everyone is in a shared work space, you’re less likely to find people who are slacking off. (Or, more accurately, if there are people not pulling their weight, it’s much more apparent.) It’s a lot harder to spend time on the phone, text friends, or surf the web when what you’re doing is on display for all your colleagues to see. In a sense, everyone in this type of environment keeps each other accountable; effectively, your staff polices themselves.

Pro: Increased Collaboration
Proponents of open offices will defend this notion until they are blue in the face. While in-office friendships may not be what they used to be, the lack of physical barriers can also lead to a breakdown of communication barriers and encourage your staff to engage with each other (on a business level) more frequently than when closed off for most of the day.

Con: Too Many Distractions
Increased collaboration may be great from a brainstorming perspective, but that increased chatter (though work-related), with no place to retreat from it, could also prove to be counterproductive for those who at least need the option of relative quiet for at least part of the day, so in this respect, that bullpen design works against productivity.

Pro: It’s Cost Effective
If the bottom line is your primary concern, this may be the way to go. The fact is, with the open concept, you can fit a lot more people into a much smaller area, which translates to less rent paid. Plus, you don’t have the added expense of purchasing cubicles.

There are some pretty convincing points to be considered from both sides. Whether it ultimately works in favor of your company, by increasing efficiency and trimming the fat on that budget spend of yours (two things we’re extremely passionate about over here), really comes down to whether you think it would be a fit for you, given this information.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

Call (888) 732-6638 or Receive a Live Webinar