Are vacation and productivity tied?

Blog with Rob: Are vacation and productivity tied?

You’ve all heard it time and again; Americans work longer hours than our counterparts around the world, more often with less results. In 2010 a survey showed that while the average American accrues 18 vacation days a year, they only take 16. On the flip side, our French counterparts take double – yes double – that vacation time.

In 2009, Mercer ran a study to determine the most competitive nations and found that we are not as productive as countries that take longer vacations. More recently, Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) measured the effect of vacation time on an employee’s productivity and found that employees who took vacations showed higher levels of productivity, increased morale, and improved job satisfaction.

So what does this all mean? Well, some large companies are taking all this information and are implementing a new company vacation policy: Unlimited paid time off. Yes, you read that correctly. Unlimited vacation time. Worried that this is going to be the benefits that your competitor is offering? Not quite yet. SHRM found that so far only 1% (and growing) of US companies are rolling out this policy, but are so far seeing great results.

So, on a smaller scale how can a small business compete? Remember to attract great talent to your company, you have to remain competitive. Maybe it’s time to dust of your company vacation policy and see where things can be perked up a bit. Potentially offer your employees their birthday off. Or try offering them off the day after Thanksgiving, or closing early on a holiday. It might even be worth it to survey your staff and see what would be more valuable. Either way, as the economy slowly picks up speed, now is the time to address internal policies to remain competitive and a great place to work.

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Rob Basso is a recognized small business expert, successful business owner and entrepreneur.

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