Give Me A Break! Increase Productivity by Disconnecting
Every year, Butler Street gets together for its Strategic Planning session to ensure we sustain the ability to help companies and their people grow.
At our 2021 Strategic retreat, Mike and Mary Ann, our company owners, posed a question to the team. Now, normally, this question in any other organization would more than likely have been a “yes” without a thought. But that is NOT how this team is wired. They asked what we thought about taking a mental health/restorative one-week total company break the week of July 4th. We discussed what that would mean regarding workload, planning, pipeline, etc., Well, after my initial shock, I answered with an emphatic “yes” as I began to envision an entire week completely disconnected (which I don’t believe I’ve done since I began working in 1990).
They reiterated that the expectation was not to spend any time on our laptops, phones, or any other device as it related to work matters. While not getting into all the details of how we managed to make that happen, needless to say, it was amazing. While on my “sabbatical”, I began to think about how important it was to refresh, re-energize, and prepare for a great 2nd half of the year. It also spurred my curiosity, so I did some reading on the importance of rest for my work life. Below are a few fantastic outcomes you can expect.
1. Brain Health – As someone who is committed to exercising having done CrossFit for 8 years, I know the importance of giving my muscles a rest every few days. It allows them to recover and get even stronger for better future performance. Similarly, our brain (also a muscle coincidentally) will become fatigued through overuse. It requires recovery time as well and disconnecting is one meaningful way to achieve this goal. In fact, research from Cleveland Clinic has shown that brain “downtime” is required to avoid burnout and chronic stress, 2 areas proven to create physical health issues. Additionally, this same research shows
Disconnecting for ONE DAY creates better concentration, focus, and creativity
On a personal note, I can affirm this is true as when I returned from my ONE WEEK disconnect, I was in a much better space for executing the most important parts of my job – prospecting, content development, and training. So if you want that same outcome, give yourself a break…literally!
2. Professional Health – How important are productivity, good habits, learning, and attitude to your success? I’m guessing important and if you want to maximize ALL of these, then give yourself a break. In countless studies, it has been shown that
taking even one day off can improve productivity and learning ability by as much as 35%
Researcher Mark Rosekind of Alertness Solutions found that the respite effect of a vacation can increase performance by 80%. Reaction times of returning vacationers increased 40% in his study. And companies are taking notice.
There’s a lot of buzz about a company in Denver offering to pay their employees to take a vacation. Yes, pay them to go away. We’re not talking about simply paid vacation time, but a bonus on top of that--$7500 to split for a holiday. Bart Lorang, CEO of Full Contact, which produces software to manage address books, needs to attract and keep software engineers in a very competitive market, so he came up with the vacation payday brainstorm. So, for those of us who are struggling to find ways to acquire and retain employees, what a novel approach to being different than others.
While I can’t speak for everyone else on our team about their personal experience in these areas from our 1-week respite, I can tell you that it had a significant impact on both my brain and professional health. So, a special thank you to Mike and Mary Ann for not only recognizing the importance of this but demonstrating their leadership through actions.
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