Today’s businesses are moving toward a much more flexible approach to working hours. Home-working is on the rise, as 24 per cent of Brits state they’d forego a pay increase in favour of working from home. In a recent trial, Swedish businesses implemented a six hour day – something which was later replicated in the UK (though scrapped soon after).
We strive to improve our work-life balance, yet we miss the opportunities given to us to take time off.
Typically, people neglect their time off because they feel they simply don’t have the time for it. We put more pressure on ourselves to “lead by example” by working longer hours and doing what we perceive to be “working harder”. But the truth is that, without taking time out of the business, we could actually be hindering its progress.
1) Healthier, happier employees
One of the main reasons for encouraging annual leave is that it results in happier, healthier employees. In a study conducted at Erasmum University in Rotterdam, Dutch workers’ happiness levels were assessed to ascertain whether these levels differed between those who took their annual leave and those who didn’t.
The study concluded that those who took holidays were in fact happier, both prior to going away and for two weeks after returning. The recommendation from this was that we take regular annual leave to keep those happiness levels higher throughout the year.
Annual leave also makes us healthier. This is because it gives our bodies the time to recharge and get over any niggling coughs or colds we’ve had, as well as improving our mental health by taking time away from stress.
2) Time off helps us learn
Another major benefit of taking time off – in the form of annual leave and even shorter breaks during the day – is that the brain needs that time to process all of the information it receives.
According to a study by Scientific American, taking time off gives your brain the chance to absorb everything you’ve learned, and to digest it in a way that makes it useful to you. Taking annual leave gives us the chance to improve our skills, by reflecting on our work and allowing our brain the freedom to process everything.
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