It is now October 2020, we are still in the midst of a global pandemic...and we're tired. Very fatigued. The pandemic, home schooling, consistent remote working, etc. has made us tired. Employees are tired. Vendors are tired. Leaders are tired. Nations are tired. We are tired.
This year has taught us many things but in this blog post, I'll address the one thing that many leaders forget about: rest. This year has taught us the importance of rest. Many countries have a culture of work. Being from the United States, I personally know that many employees only take one week of vacation. One week during Christmas break and one week around summer break. If the employee is ambitious about their time off, they may take three weeks off total. This pales in comparison to many European countries because those countries have a culture of rest.
Data about the workplace previously revealed that people are not using their vacation and time off. Although the data was provided before the pandemic, this is incredibly problematic. We've heard over and over how important rest is for the body and the mind. A rested workforce is an empowered workforce. A rested workforce is an excellent workforce. An excellent workforce leads to organizational excellence.
As an organizational leader, you can encourage your team to be rested by specifically telling them: "I don't expect or want you to work on the weekends." For some people, working on the weekend is optimal during the pandemic because there is no homeschooling, etc. However, for the "traditional employee", an emphasis on STOP WORKING ON THE WEEKEND is in order.
What about vacation/holiday time? Leaders can equally encourage their employees to stop responding to email whilst on vacation. Being able to unplug completely and return rested has allowed me to bring a level of excellence that I can't deliver when mentally exhausted and physically drained. I was so thankful. I didn't check email, I wasn't pulled in any different direction, I simply rested.
Thus, as we continue to navigate this global pandemic and eventually move out of it, organizational leaders must create a culture of rest by: (1) being explicit about their expectations; (2) continuing important conversations about work-life alignment; (3) using tactics and technology to ensure that their employees are resting (such as limiting their email access when they are out of the office); and (4) providing sufficient opportunities to create success for the employee by giving them the best information upon their return from time off.
How will you ensure that you and your team is rested this weekend?
Standing with you,
Elizabeth Go is a lawyer, trainer, conflict resolution expert and workplace culture enthusiast who helps companies with their marketplace proposition by focusing on people first. To hire Elizabeth as a consultant or to speak at your next event, email: email@example.com.