Taking annual leave is vital in maintaining employee wellness. This gives the employee a chance to rest, first and foremost, and then to re-energise and refocus. “Banking” annual leave should therefore always be discouraged. Having said that, how does the employer maintain employee wellness during this period of frivolity and festivity, and ensure the employee returns sufficiently energized for optimum productivity?
We offer 5 ways to keep employee wellness on track during the holidays:
- PROMOTE HEALTHY EATING
The festive season is synonymous with over-indulgence and excess. Whilst this all feels great at the time, once the festivities are over, guilt and a fair degree of remorse set in, sapping one’s energy and dulling any efforts to achieve a re-energised state. Start with ongoing education on the matter, and then consider offering health-store vouchers as incentives during the year, which pay out annually prior to annual leave.
- PROMOTE OUTDOOR ACTIVITY
Activity boosts those wonderful feel-good endorphins which we all need to maintain a function level of happiness. The opposite is true of being a couch-potatoe : the lack of sunshine and movement restricts blood flow through the body causing one to feel sluggish, tired and demotivated. Consider offering post-leave incentives tied to activity tracked by smartphone or smartgear apps.
- ENCOURAGE CHARITABLE ACTS
According to website www.good2give.ngo the pleasure systems in our brains are activated when we give in support of others. “As it turns out, knowing that we acted to improve the life of another is enough to boost our own self-esteem and our sense of purpose”. Encourage employees to find a charity which they could support long term, and preferably one that they could “get their hands dirty” with by volunteering time. Consider starting “a day 4 a day” programme whereby the company rewards the employee with an additional day’s leave for the day they volunteered their time for a charitable cause.
- ENCOURAGE OFFLINE TIME
It is a terrible injustice to send employees on leave only to expect them to be responding to messages and emails during their time away. Ensure that your employee’s duties are well delegated allowing them the time to go offline, and then encourage days of total offline time. This is best achieved by changing habits through enforcement in the workplace throughout the year.
- HAVE A POST-LEAVE PLAN
Prior to sending your employees on leave, sit down with them and agree their forward plan on their return. This will help manage expectations on return and will assist in reducing any end-of-leave work-related anxiety. The employees know what they are returning to and what is expected of them, ensuring they can “jump straight in”.
If you are looking for further assistance with Talent Management, Ubuhle’s Talent Management Team designs and develops a variety of interventions that enable clients to empower individuals and teams. Give us a call for a no-obligation consultation!