DR. E. CAROL WEBSTER’S
E. Carol Webster, Ph.D.
Original Copyright © 2009
Times have been unusually stressful for employees because of the recession. They’re doing more than ever with less staff and resources, and worry constantly that they may be the next to get the ax. Help them de-stress. Insist that they take time off to vacation. But, back your words with actions that demonstrate your commitment to this. Allow them to unplug from the office so they can truly use their vacation time to relax and rejuvenate.
Leave Employees Alone While They’re Away
It has become common practice to expect employees to call into the office while on vacation or, at the very least, to scan voice mail, email, and text messages in case any “urgent” business has come up. Why is this? Who is so indispensable that they can’t be spared for a week or two? And what does this say about your management effectiveness if the business can’t function unless everyone is always plugged in? Your staff needs the time to rest. They need time just to have fun. And so do you. So show greater regard for the psychological and physical well-being of the people who make your business successful and let them truly vacation. Stop and ask yourself why you’re contacting them before you dial or press “SEND”. What’s the worst that will happen if the matter is not handled until they return or if someone else takes care of it in their absence? If it’s not going to be the end of the world — leave them alone.
Give Employees Time to Catch Up When They Return
If you truly want your staff to de-stress and to enjoy their time off, don’t give them mixed messages that suggest that they use their time off to catch up on paperwork, projects, and other tasks that can be taken along on vacation in their briefcase or laptop. Accept that they will need time to do these things when they return, as well as to wade through all the new things that have piled up on their desk since they left. If appropriate for your industry, allow the office to ramp down a bit during the traditionally slow summer season so that everyone can finally get around to those odds and ends that had to be pushed aside because of other priorities. Encourage people to use this time to enjoy their professional journals, to attend association meetings, and engage in other activities that help them grow. These activities spark creativity, encourage best practices, and generally help your company to be experienced as a psychologically healthy place to work, rather than a sweatshop. And this helps your bottom-line.
Encourage Employees to Identify Tentative Dates for Future Time Off
Set a positive tone about the value of vacation. Make it okay for employees to plan ahead. Encourage them to select tentative dates. And model this behavior by scheduling your own away dates so that they can be announced. Your staff shouldn’t feel guilty about thinking about their next break from work. Knowing that they will be taking time off at some specific date in the future will help spur them on during high stress periods. The buildup of tension can be moderated with the self-reminder that there’s an endpoint on the horizon. Getting these plans in advance will also help you anticipate and manage workplace needs more effectively so that the business can run smooth enough to enable employees to unplug while on vacation.
Vacation time should be restorative for your staff. Enable them to use the time for self-care and enjoyment. They will appreciate you all the more for doing so, and will reward you many times over through their refreshed workplace performance and commitment.
About the Author:
Dr. E. Carol Webster is a clinical psychologist consultant in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
She is author of the book for those dealing with the stress of success ―
Success Management: How to Get to the Top and Keep Your Sanity Once You Get There,
The Fear of Success: Stop It From Stopping You! ―
the book to help you overcome fears that may be holding you back in your life and career
The Private Practice of Clinical Psychology in: Voices of Historical & Contemporary Black American Pioneers
To contact Dr. Webster visit online at http://drcarolwebster.com or call 954.797.9766.
E. Carol Webster, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychology Consulting
Mailing Address: 7027 West Broward Boulevard, #262 Fort Lauderdale, FL 33317
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