The Multitasking Myth

Dear, Anita,

I’m so stressed out!  I’m being pulled in a hundred different directions at work. My office is full of interruptions – from putting out proverbial fires to phone calls from customers to coworkers stopping by to discuss projects. All the while budget reports are due, shipments must go out on time, and meetings must be attended. I’m trying to keep on top of it all but I never feel like my “to do” list gets done. Help!

Dear, Juggling Jim,

Multitasking is bragged about, and often expected in our modern American business culture. But what people who multitask are really doing is shifting from one duty to another, seemingly lightning fast – in effect, juggling.

Three researchers – Joshua Rubinstein, Jeffrey Evans, and David Meyer – conducted experiments where participants switched between different tasks. You may not be surprised that the test subjects lost time when flip-flopping from one task to another. As tasks grew more complex, even more time was sacrificed.  It is estimated that shifting between tasks can cost as much as 40% of your productive time (American Psychological Association). Take this eye-opening test from the author of The Myth of Multitasking to see just how much toggling between activities can cost time-wise:

The three consequences of multitasking, according to author Dave Crenshaw:

  1. Things take longer.
  2. Mistakes increase.
  3. Stress levels increase.

A University of California, Irvine study of information employees found workers are interrupted every three minutes – that’s about 20 times an hour!  The same study discovered it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back on task after being interrupted. (The good news: 82% of interrupted work is resumed on the same day but a Microsoft study showed that 40% of the time, the disrupted task was not resumed immediately following the interruption.)

And what about accuracy? When UC Irvine’s subjects were given a cognitive test, the interrupted group answered correctly 20% less often than the control group that was not deliberately sidetracked. Trains of thought can be derailed by sudden stops and starts.

MultitaskingI don’t think we need a scientific study to come to the conclusion that multitasking increases stress levels. But science does show that the pre-frontal cortex of our brains (the area most involved in multitasking – assessing, prioritizing, and allotting mental resources) is affected by prolonged stress. The hippocampus (the region of the brain that forms new memories and recalls existing ones) can also be damaged by stress, making it difficult to learn new skills and facts.  Stress hormones can also reduce short-term memory – definitely not good when you’re trying to remember what you were doing before you were interrupted!

What’s the solution? I find it very interesting that the only antonym for multitask on Thesaurus.com is “focus.”  While you may be able to drink your cup of coffee while reading email, for more complex tasks – that quarterly report or client presentation – try to schedule some uninterrupted time to complete intricate projects. You may have to close the office door, and even hang a “Do Not Disturb” sign. But you may be your own worst enemy – a self-interrupter. You don’t have to answer every email the moment you hear it ping in your inbox, or hop on the web to research airfares for your next conference the second it pops in your head. Here are five ways to tame multitasking:

1)      Schedule uninterrupted time for big projects.
2)      Turn off your email alert and check email at scheduled intervals.
3)      Keep your personal cell phone off, and check messages/texts only at lunch or breaks. Try using the Do Not Disturb button on your phone, and return calls at scheduled intervals.
4)      Train your coworkers not to interrupt.  You may need to remove comfy chairs from your office so people don’t linger to chitchat.
5)      Replace your open-door policy to open-door hours instead.

With a few changes in your work habits, juggling can be left to professional performers in the circus.

 

Applying for a Job When Not 100% Qualified

I’ll answer two related questions together:

Dear Anita, I found an ad for a position at my dream company. My skills and responsibilities during my years of experience match up almost exactly to what they are looking for. However, I don’t have a college degree, and they list a Bachelor’s Degree as a requirement. Should I still apply? – Almost  Qualified 

Anita, After months of being out of work, I’m desperate to get a job, so I’m applying to just about every job posting I can find in my town. Obviously, this takes a lot of time. But after being picky and only applying to those few that I qualify for 100% with little to show for it, I have to do something different! My wife thinks I’m spinning my wheels. Can you settle our disagreement?
– Trying the Shotgun Approach 

Dear, Almost Qualified and Shotgun Approach,

TargetWhen a manager needs someone to fill a position, they make out a wish list of their pie-in-the-sky candidate’s qualifications, and post this ad. Are they going to get everything on that list? Did you get everything you asked Santa for? Probably not.

My personal feeling is that if you meet 80% of the criteria (Pareto’s 80/20 rule comes in handy for a lot of situations), then Almost Qualified, go ahead and apply away. Even if there is an applicant meeting 10 out of 10 requirements, and you rank a close second with 9 out of 10 qualifications, chances are good that you’ll still get an interview. The other job seeker isn’t necessarily a shoo-in for the job, either. They may interview poorly or have a less sparkling personality than you. There are all kinds of intangible, je ne sais quois qualities that come into play when a hiring manager is making that final decision.

Shotgun, if you’re just throwing spaghetti on the wall to see what sticks, I feel like you’re wasting 80% of your time, as well as that of hiring managers in your community. And you wonder why employers use Application Tracking Systems (ATS) and don’t respond. See my recent post ATS 101 for a better understanding of the computer program that will toss your unqualified app in the trash. Just to be fair, here’s a blog from Youtern that is PRO-quantity. My advice, however, is to go back to your more targeted approach and have multiple résumés that focus on and spotlight different aspects of your experience and skill set. For example, you may have done a little bit of purchasing in a previous manager position and now want to apply for a procurement coordinator position. Adapt your résumé to focus on the particular abilities and facets of your past experience that make you a viable candidate for the new position.

Shotgun, you may wish to consider a temporary agency like my friends at The Select Family of Staffing Companies. You’ll be able to work on various assignments based on your skills. Who knows, you may even fall into a temp-to-hire situation.

Readers: Readers, have you ever applied – and landed – a job for which you did not have each and every qualification the company requested in the ad?

Have a question you would like to ask? Visit http://anitaclew.com/ask-anita/.

Office Decorating

Dear, Anita,

Our company is moving our offices from our cramped location to a spacious new building. I guess because I am one of the few women in the office, somehow I am now in charge of decorating the new space. I have to pick carpet, paint colors, furniture – and I’m no decorator! The only direction I’ve received from my boss is to choose a color scheme that is relaxing since we are in a high-stress business. Do you have any advice?

Dear, De Facto Designer,

Take a deep breath… but not near the paint fumes! We spend approximately 40 hours a week – sometimes more – in our work environment. Office surroundings can influence our business’s image and our employees’ productivity.

blue modern office spaceColor
As a general rule, cool tones – blues and greens – are more calming. Blue and gray have the benefit of improving productivity… but I don’t advocate a drab prison palette. (Interesting side note: In the 1970s, it was discovered that pink reduced aggression, so a few correctional facilities experimented with rosy walls!) While financial services companies and law offices tend to keep their palettes more conservative and neutral – beige,  tan, taupe, cream – creative industries can get away with adding bigger splashes of brighter hues.  Hot colors – red, orange, bright yellow – are more stimulating, but beware of overdoing any strong color. Your company’s logo and branding should also play into the office color scheme. To explore more about the psychology of color, check out the Demesne site.  To read about NASA’s color research on color in office environments, check out this interesting link: http://www.informedesign.org/_news/jan_v05r-p.pdf. And keep in mind, the way a color looks on a chip in the hardware store could change dramatically in your office light.

Lighting
Proper lighting to perform tasks is essential to any office.  Fluorescent lights can be harsh; have you ever noticed that unbecoming green cast to your skin in a phosphorescent fitting room? You may not have much choice, as overhead fluorescent lighting is still widespread in office buildings, so adjust your make-up accordingly. Augment overhead lights with task lighting – adjustable desk lamps positioned behind or pointed away from computers to avoid screen glare.  Natural light is highly valued by employees, but be sure to position your computer to avoid reflections from windows. Stuck in the cubicle farm? Consider a full spectrum sunlight desk lamp so you won’t get SAD.

BlindsWindow Treatments
Desks positioned by east, south, or west facing windows may heat up for a portion of the day. Shutters are an elegant but pricey option to control light, hide unsightly views of the neighbor’s dumpster, or maintain privacy. Horizontal blinds, cellular shades, or solar roller shade options are available in every budget range. Vertical blinds are best suited for taller windows and sliding doors.

Furnishings
Form follows function when it comes to office furniture. The type of computers, number of monitors, and amount of file storage may dictate your desk selection. Clutter may lead to stress, so be sure that employees have enough storage space for their needs. Keep ergonomic issues in mind when arranging offices and cubicles.

Light deskGenerally, the darker the wood, the more visual “weight” the furniture has. Massive mahogany desks quietly announce importance and professionalism, while light maple with stainless steel may indicate a more modern, youthful vibe.

Carpet
While hardwood floors are sought after in our homes, carpet is king in offices, primarily because of the sound absorption benefit. I like to keep the carpet a multi-toned neutral – it helps hide dirt! You can always bring in color on accent walls and with artwork.  Be sure to select a commercial grade stain-resistant option. Carpet tiles may cost more up front, but you can replace one or two damaged or stained tiles rather than an entire office, saving money in the long run.

Extras
Think beyond motivational posters when choosing art for the walls. Perhaps someone in your company is a great artist, or knows one. A plant or greenery can be a nice addition… as long as someone remembers to water it. If you go the route of a faux plant, be sure to keep it dusted. My dream office would have a calming aquarium, but who would feed the fish on the weekends?

Readers: What would you change about your office decor?

 

Creating a Résumé from Scratch

Dear, Anita,

Recent graduate here. I have filled out job applications in the past but I’ve never had to create a résumé before, and I don’t know where to start. It seems intimidating. Can you point me in the right direction?

Dear, Résumé Newbie,

Person Holding ResumeAccording to Dictionary.com, a résumé is a brief written account of personal, educational, and professional qualifications and experience… prepared by an applicant for a job. With your recent school report-writing experience, this should be a snap. Think you don’t have enough to fill a page? C’mon, I’m sure you learned to stretch your thoughts to get to the word requirement for all those English essays.

I think Dictionary.com has the order backwards, though. If you have had any work experience at all, lead with that, followed by your education, with personal details at the bottom.

For your employment history, list the company name, date range of employment, and your job duties and responsibilities. Include summer jobs, babysitting gigs, stints as camp counselor, unpaid internships and yes, working in a family business even if paid only with your room and board.

What to do if you have absolutely zero employment history and are looking for your very first job? Beef up the education areas and mention classes that relate to your desired field (include grades, if they are stellar), outline any projects or reports that may be relevant, as well as any useful skills that you picked up along the way.  In fact, if you are particularly tech-savvy, break out “Computer Skills” as a subhead and list the programs in which you are well-versed.

Woman holding resume for a job interviewYou can bulk up a beginner’s résumé with personal information, such as skills, clubs, interests, awards, and community service. See my “Including Volunteer Work in Your Resume” post for more tips along these lines.

Another section to consider adding is References. “References upon request” is often seen on the bottom of jam-packed résumés, but for those without a “grip” of employment history, including the name and contact information for past teachers, bosses, church elders, or family friends who will give a glowing testimonial about your character is worth the space.

As for the format, keep it simple. Tempting as it may be to pimp out your résumé with a graphics program, many companies and job search sites such as Monster.com may require you to submit your résumé as a Word document. Word has dozens of résumé templates that you may download to give you a clean, professional look.

If you find you are not having success landing interviews, consider a professional résumé writing service such as CareerPerfect that can polish your rhinestone in the rough.

Readers: Readers, remember your first résumé? Did you learn anything about résumé-writing that can help our recent graduate?

Have a question you would like to ask? Visit http://anitaclew.com/ask-anita/.

Make Team-Building a Picnic

Dear, Anita,

After years of coming up with team-building activities for our company’s annual summer picnic, I’m brain-dead. Do you have any new, creative ideas?

Dear, Rah-Rah-Rachel,

Tired of trust falls, huh? This video from Outrageous Games includes the traditional sack race and water balloon toss, but has a few unique twists on company picnic favorites.  I particularly like the different interpretation of a “soapbox derby” and the race with participants wearing swim fins.

Here’s a twist on the three-legged race – a team-building caterpillar game (although this video is uploaded from the Netherlands, it doesn’t really need a translated explanation):

Spend a little time browsing for ideas on YouTube, but be forewarned – you’ll likely run across some LOL moments, so you may want to close your office door.

Perhaps a theme could jump-start your creativity. I could “arrr-gue” for a pirate motif (even though International Talk Like a Pirate Day isn’t officially until September).  Think of all the activities you could do with a rope at a western-themed picnic.  With a carnival concept, adapt traditional fair games into team trials. Or bring your three-ring circus out of your office; you’ll need to find a venue or event company to facilitate employees getting out of their comfort zone by walking a tightrope or swinging on a trapeze.  Businesspeople playing tug of war outdoors.Wacky staff Olympic Games can promote teamwork with events like pool-noodle javelins, Nerf archery, tricycle races on the grass, or creating a landlubbing synchronized “swimming” routine (remember to bring a video camera!). If you host the summer games on a beach, there is an added level of difficulty slogging through the sand.

I’m a fan of the TV show The Amazing Race. You could create a team scavenger hunt in your city with silly “pit stop” and “road block” challenges along the way. BONUS: You can get your company name out in the community when you cooperate with local businesses to hide items or host challenges at their locations. Survivor is another show that can be adapted if you flip the objective to keeping teams together rather than voting someone off the island. Maybe winners of the “immunity challenges” could receive a break from an onerous task back at the office next week.

Send me an invitation, will you?

Readers: Tell us about the most convivial activity at one of your company picnics.

Have a question you would like to ask? Visit http://anitaclew.com/ask-anita/.

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Top 10 Interview Fails

Dear, Anita,

I just sent a follow-up letter to a highly desired position I applied for by email using a draft for another industry. Unfortunately, I didn’t make all necessary changes that apply and cannot stop beating myself for this silly mistake on such a grand opportunity. Any words of comfort?

Dear, Oopsy Daisy,

There, there; everything will be all right. Seriously, don’t be too hard on yourself. We’ve all made mistakes before we hit the “send” button. It won’t be your only grand opportunity and maybe not even the best one for you.

Oops keyYou may be wondering if you should send a follow-up email apologizing for the error. I would not. Who knows? The recipient of the email may not have even noticed your mistake, and calling attention to it would not be wise in that case. If they did notice it, it will either be significant (and they won’t call you back because of a perceived lack of attention to detail) or it won’t (in which case your bringing it back up will mean nothing – or it will make them change their mind about its significance).

So, take the lesson (proofread everything twice before sending), and move on.

To make you feel better about your smallish error, here – in no particular order – are 10 interview fails I have seen in my ample years.

  1. Bringing your boyfriend to an interview. Or your mother. Or your kids. If you need a ride, get dropped off. The few dollars you spend on a babysitter is money well spent toward your career.
  2. Arriving for an interview with a cup of coffee in hand. While Starbucks would be proud to have infiltrated the interview space, this is not a casual chat with your best bud.
  3. Wearing flip-flops. No matter how relaxed the work environment, dress appropriately and professionally. Interview outfits should be a notch above what you’d wear once you land the job. (Side note: I once interviewed a college student who committed both #2 and #3.)
  4. Answering phone or texting during an interview. Cell phones should be silenced and out of view, and for goodness sake, take off your Bluetooth earpiece.
  5. Trash-talking your former boss or co-workers. While you may not be able to take grandma’s advice, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all,” frame your responses about your less-than-perfect previous jobs in neutral language.
  6. Showing up late. Take traffic into account when planning for your appointment. If you arrive too early, drive around the block so you’re not staring through the office window at your interviewer.
  7. Showing up deathly ill. An interview is an important meeting not to miss, but nobody wants to share the air with a walking Petri dish. Call and let the interviewer choose to reschedule or not.
  8. “Ummm, I’m, like, such a people person, ya know?” Practice answering interview questions with a friend to minimize your speech idiosyncrasies.
  9. Interrupting. Curb your enthusiasm and wait for the interviewer to finish his or her thought or question. Just like on the Jeopardy, if you buzz in too early, you’ll likely lose points.
  10. Acting desperate. Telling the hiring manager that you really need the job, or sharing your financial hardships will backfire. Just as in dating, desperation is a turn-off for employers. Self-confidence will bring respect, while sad sack stories will just bring pity.

Readers: Don’t be shy! Share your interview faux pas.

Need some job advice? Anita Clew is happy to help. Click here to Ask Anita.

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“Atta Girl” – Handling Compliments at Work

Dear, Anita,

I recently worked extra hard on a project. My boss complimented me, saying, “Thanks for working over the weekend to get our presentation ready for the big meeting,” to which I replied, “It was nothing.” My co-worker later told me I shouldn’t have said that, and I’ll never get promoted with my unassertive attitude. She says I should have said something like, “Thanks, I had to miss going to a birthday party, but work comes first.” Is she right?

Dear, Applause! Applause!

Atta_girlYour co-worker does have a point about downplaying your boss’s thanks, but I don’t agree with her 100%. Playing the martyr isn’t necessary. Learn to accept compliments graciously, even without an eye on a future raise. Working over the weekend wasn’t “nothing.” You went over and above for an assignment, and your boss already knows it. If you say something that infers to your boss that he hasn’t realized it, not only might he resent the pointed comment, but he might also think you only made the extra effort in order to get the credit and not because of your great work ethic, sense of loyalty, or desire to impress.  If you want to respond with more than just a humble “you’re welcome,” a more self-confident reply is, “It was really satisfying to see that the presentation helped win the client over.”

Who doesn’t feel a warm glow when you get a well-deserved pat on the back? Businesses know the importance of testimonials. Someone else bragging about you has much more cachet than you boasting about yourself.

To keep those reassurances on hand, create an “Atta Girl” file (or an “Atta Boy” file, but as a general rule, women tend to have a harder time accepting compliments than men).  What should go in the file? Email kudos from co-workers, supervisors, or clients; performance evaluations; certificates of achievement; surveys/feedback forms; even notes from the departmental birthday card!

If compliments are hand-written, you may wish to transfer them into an Excel or Word document, along with any significant facts (date, the problem solved, context, etc.). Be sure to keep a copy on your home computer just in case you are terminated or laid off suddenly.

When a client or co-worker gives you verbal appreciation, ask them if they wouldn’t mind taking the extra step of putting it in writing and/or posting a recommendation on LinkedIn, and endorsing you for the skills and qualities they complimented. In fact, you can email them a follow-up with the recommendation typed out (remind them they can edit the verbiage if you inadvertently misquoted them). For a LinkedIn recommendation or any testimonial to be most powerful, include the original problem/situation, the results that exceeded expectations, and the character traits you exhibited while working with them. Endorsements on LinkedIn are easy to complete with a simple click on the appropriate skills that one can attest to.

When you make a mistake or have a bad day at work, go to your “Atta Girl” file to combat those waves of self-doubt. There’s nothing better for a bruised ego than remembering past triumphs.

And when it’s time to update your résumé, you can put those warm fuzzies to work! Polish up your CV, or even replace “References upon request” with a document full of glowing testimonials about your skills and favorable qualities.

Readers: Can you take a compliment? What’s the best work-related commendation you’ve ever received?

Do you have a question for Anita Clew? Visit http://anitaclew.com/ask-anita/.

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Advice from Dad

Dear, Readers,

This touching car commercial shows a dad teaching his daughter a valuable lesson in self-reliance. “Hope for the best but prepare for the worst” is an axiom that all of us can also apply on the job.

In honor of Father’s Day, let’s take a look at some other lessons and advice from dear old dad and their application in the world of work.

“When I was your age, I had to walk (insert large number here) miles to school.” It’s helpful to keep your business’s roots in mind, particularly the values upon which it was founded.

“If everyone jumped off a bridge, would you?” By the same token, don’t just settle for business as usual. Constantly innovate and do things differently.

Tie“How will you know if you don’t try?” While this may have applied to tasting your peas as a toddler, develop a business culture where employees are not penalized for trying (and possibly failing with) new ideas.

“I wasn’t born yesterday, Mister.” Really? Your great-aunt died… again? You may think your employer just fell off the turnip truck, but I wouldn’t recommend using these excuses for a day off work: http://business.time.com/2012/10/30/funniest-excuses-for-missing-work/

“There are starving people in Africa who would gladly eat your dinner.” Substitute “starving” with “jobless,” “Africa” with “America,” and “eat your dinner” with “do your job.”

 “Don’t burn the candle at both ends.” When you, in your teenage invincibility, overloaded your schedule with school, sports, and extracurricular activities, your wise father figure knew that you could only handle the pace for a limited time. Just so on the job.

“No one on their deathbed ever said, ‘I wish I’d spent more time at the office.’ ” Maybe it was your much older grandfather, with the benefit of hindsight, who reminds you of the need for a work-life balance.

On the flip side, do NOT use these fatherly expressions in business situations:

  • “I brought you into this world, and I can take you out.” While it’s true that if you hired someone, you can indeed fire them, reigning with fear won’t endear you to your employees.
  • “This is going to hurt you more than it’s going to hurt me.” When you are letting someone go, it really is going to hurt them more.
  • “You’ll live.” A little compassion when your direct report complains about aches and pains will make you a more well-liked manager.
  • “Because I said so.” A few words of explanation will help your employee understand the importance of a procedure, rule, or task.

Readers: What piece of fatherly advice have you been able to translate to the work world? Don’t remember? Go ask your mother.

Have a question you would like to ask? Visit http://anitaclew.com/ask-anita/.

Graduates: Attempt Temping

Dear, Anita,

I just graduated from college with a degree in business. But I have no idea what I really want to do! I’m paralyzed with fear that I’ll start down the wrong career path and wind up doing something I hate. What should I do?

Dear, Dazed Diploma Holder,

GraduatesIt’s only natural to feel some trepidation as you begin your job search and your career. But rest assured, you’ll never be stuck in a bad situation – career or otherwise – unless you choose to be.  You can always change jobs. And life is funny; even if you did have your one-year, five-year, and 25-year career goals all nicely laid out, fate often has a different plan.

So just get started! Here’s a great excerpt from Careerealism on why you may want to consider a temporary job.

“Some job seekers are hesitant to accept temporary or contract assignments because they are concerned if they commit to something short-term, they will miss out on opportunities for full-time assignments. This may be a bit short-sighted because many employers are now using staffing agencies (and sometimes internal recruiters) to ‘try before they buy’ job candidates.

In many cases, short-term assignments are being extended and even becoming full-time opportunities for some workers.

If you’re currently unemployed, determine if this assignment could give you some valuable income and also help build your resume. If you can answer ‘yes’ to both of these items, it might be worth accepting the assignment. If you do a good job, you may also be able to obtain a reference for future employers.”

Read the entire blog post at http://www.careerealism.com/job-seekers-temp-jobs/#rfDuA8cQybt8SwJV.99

While the blog mentions that employers can “try before they buy” job candidates, you as the job seeker can “try on” different positions to see what interests you and suits your personality best.

Readers: Readers, what was your first job out of college? Did it prepare you for your dream career?

Have a question you would like to ask? Visit http://anitaclew.com/ask-anita/.

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The Importance of Vacations

Dear, Anita,

In our company culture, while vacations are not exactly frowned upon, you are expected to “check in” while taking your time off. I’m tempted to book an international cruise just because my employer wouldn’t want to reimburse me for the difficult and costly Internet access! How can I convince my boss that a 100% non-working vacation is my right?

Dear, Time for a Vacation,

Vacation_InfographicI’m sorry to burst your bubble, but the United States is the only developed country in the world without legally required paid vacation. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there is no federal law requiring employers to offer paid vacation time. The Center for Economic and Policy Research found that many industrialized nations offer mandated paid vacation and holidays ranging from 10 to 38 days! France leads the pack with 30 paid vacation days and one paid holiday. Austria offers 25 paid vacation days plus 13 paid holidays. Even the hard-working Japanese are entitled to 10 paid vacation days per year. (I think it’s time to write your Congressperson.)

In the U.S., paid vacation time off is a benefit, not a right. Granted, it is a very popular benefit; a recent survey by Glassdoor indicates that 78% of employees receive vacation or paid time off.

That being said, if your employer does offer paid vacation, here’s some ammunition to encourage a clean break. Vacations can make workers more productive. The Oxford Economics February 2014 study, “An Assessment of Paid Time Off in the U.S.,” cites statistics that 48% of managers viewed the impact of time off on productivity as positive. Further, managers believe employees who take time off have an improved attitude and better performance at work. A study conducted by former NASA scientists for Air New Zealand found that there is an 82 percent spike in performance among those who’ve just returned from vacation. In a recent Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)/U.S. Travel Association study, a large majority of HR professionals think taking vacation is extremely or very important for performance, morale, wellness, a positive culture, productivity, retention, and creativity. Forbes reports that “job-related stress contributes to absenteeism, lost productivity, and health issues, and these factors cost businesses approximately $344 billion annually.” Vacations can neutralize job-related stress.

Happy workers stay longer at their jobs. The American Management Association reports that the estimated cost of replacing employees ranges from 25% of their salary to five times their salary. Why not keep the workers you have? In its ranking of work-life balance, The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) found that the United States ranks 25 out of 36 countries (with Denmark, the Netherlands, and Norway in the top three spots).

 

 

Tips for Leaving On Vacation

  • Don’t schedule your vacation during the busiest season in your company. That won’t go over well.
  • Give your employer as much notice as possible, right after you click the “Book Now” button on that travel site.
  • Negotiate how often you will check emails or voicemail. If you’re only expecting one important email midweek, offer to respond on that project only. If your boss wants more input, check your phone or email once a day.
  • Try to get as much of your work done before you leave so you only have to delegate a few tasks to co-workers.
  • Set up a meeting with the person who is covering you to go over last-minute instructions.
  • Give your contact information to one gatekeeper, preferably your boss or your coverage person.
  • Don’t forget to change your outgoing phone message and set up an out of office automatic reply for your emails.
  • Finally, enjoy yourself and come back to work refreshed!

 

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Disclaimer

Anita Clew's blog posts are intended for general guidance and should never be taken as legal advice. In all instances where harassment, inequity, or unfair treatment is believed to be present, please consult your HR Department or legal representation.
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