STRESS & Good Leaders Model Well-being Practices #TakeTimeOff

“Help Your Team Manage Stress, Anxiety, and Burnout” by Rich Fernandez, Harvard Business Review, 1/21/16.

… Model and encourage well-being practices.

Worker stress levels are rising, with over half of the global workforce (53%) reporting that they are closer to burnout than they were just five years ago, according to a Regus Group survey of over 22,000 business people across 100 countries. And while stress can be contagious, the converse is also true: when any member of a team experiences well-being, the effect seems to spread across the entire team. According to a recent Gallup research report that surveyed 105 teams over six three-month periods, individual team members who reported experiencing well-being were 20% more likely to have other team members who also reported thriving six months later. Takeaway: understand and prioritize activities that promote well-being for yourself and your team. They could include such things as offering personal development tools, like mindfulness and resilience training; explicitly encouraging people to take time for exercise or other renewal activities, such as walking meetings; or building buffer time into deliverables calendars so that people can work flexibly and at a manageable pace.

Allow time to disconnect outside of work.

According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, workers around the world spend 34 to 48 hours at work each week on average, and many engage in work or related activities after business hours. McKinsey Quarterlysuggests that “always-on, multitasking work environments are killing productivity, dampening creativity, and making us unhappy.” And one of the most significant findings in employee pulse surveys that I’ve seen in companies large and small is that employees have an exceptionally hard time disconnecting from work…

Read more at … https://hbr.org/2016/01/help-your-team-manage-stress-anxiety-and-burnout

WEEKLY SABBATICAL & Productivity Increases When Time Off is Made Predictable—and Required

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: You think we would understand the importance of a regular sabbatical, when even God who would seem to never need it took a day off after creation. Yet in our ministry worlds we sometimes don’t get a reprieve from emails and work related duties. Yet research shows that having “required” and “regular” time off makes a team more productive. Read the research here.

Making Time Off Predictable, And Required

by Leslie A. Perlow and Jessica L. Porter, Harvard Business Review, 10/9/09 (view here: 8.95.)

People in professional services (consultants, investment bankers, accountants, lawyers, IT, and the like) simply expect to make work their top priority. They believe an “always on” ethic is essential if they and their firms are to succeed in the global marketplace. Just look at the numbers: According to a survey we conducted last year, 94% of 1,000 such professionals said they put in 50 or more hours a week, with nearly half that group turning in more than 65 hours a week. That doesn’t include the 20 to 25 hours a week most of them spend monitoring their BlackBerrys while outside the office. These individuals further say they almost always respond within an hour of receiving a message from a colleague or a client.

Yet our research over the past four years in several North American offices of the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) suggests that it is perfectly possible for consultants and other professionals to meet the highest standards of service and still have planned, uninterrupted time off. Indeed, we found that when the assumption that everyone needs to be always available was collectively challenged, not only could individuals take time off, but their work actually benefited. Our experiments with time off resulted in more open dialogue among team members, which is valuable in itself. But the improved communication also sparked new processes that enhanced the teams’ ability to work most efficiently and effectively.

Predictable time off is the name we gave to the designated periods of time that consultants were required to take off…

(Lessons learned, included the following:)

Lesson 1: Impose a strict time-off mechanism

To get hard-driving consultants to agree to take time off during an assignment—not just when there happened to be a break in the work but at predictable times—we had to establish a mechanism that made it clear to everyone how time off must be taken: either a full day or a full night each week for everyone on the team, which was scheduled at the start of each project…

Lesson 2: Build dialogue into the process

In each of our experiments, we used explicit tactics to generate conversation around the time-off goals in particular, and around work processes more generally…

Lesson 3: Encourage experimentation

Beyond creating a safe space for open dialogue, we found it imperative to encourage people to experiment with new work processes. Ways of working that would have previously gone unquestioned were suddenly fair game for reconsideration…

Lesson 4: Insist on leadership support

Individuals won’t willingly engage in these experiments unless they are able to suspend their disbelief. For that to happen, people need to know that there is value in trying; that they will be respected for participating; and that they will bear some responsibility for the success or failure of the experiment…

Read more at … https://hbr.org/2009/10/making-time-off-predictable-and-required

SABBATH & HBR study finds having more vacation time will force you to be more efficient #HarvardBusinessReviewo

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “This Harvard Business Review research found that employees who have more vacation days (such as in Europe where employees typically get 28-41 days) makes employees not necessarily less stressed, but it does seem to make them more efficient. It seems there is a positive correlation between having more vacation days and being more efficient on the days when you are in the office. Here is a sun native quote from the article, ‘Perhaps instead of telling your head of HR that you need more vacation time for your well-being, you can simply tell him or her that having more vacation time will force you to be more efficient’.”

Read more at…https://hbr.org/2015/06/are-we-more-productive-when-we-have-more-time-off

TIME OFF & 5 Surprisingly Good Reasons to Pay–Yes, Pay!–Employees to Go on Vacation #IncMagazi ne

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “30 years of consulting has proven to me that the Christian world has failed at maintaining work/like balance. Yet, research shows that employees who take time away from the office, are more productive. (Remember God rested after working six days.) Reread Genesis 1-2 and then read this important article. It is time we follow God’s model and begins to increase our missional productivity by revisiting what it means encourage and strategically embrace rest.”

by Minda Zetlin, Inc. Magazine, 3/3/15.

Read more at … http://www.inc.com/minda-zetlin/5-surprisingly-good-reasons-to-pay-yes-pay-employees-to-go-on-vacation.html

TIME OFF & The Key To Office Productivity: Get Out Of The Office #ForbesMagazine

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “My fellow professor Dr. Charles Arn likes to remark that he gets more work done from his home in California than he does when he is in our offices in Marion, Indiana. And all of us professors intuitively know that, but now research supports it. Getting off site and away from office distractions and informal powwows allows employees to focus more on their primary work as demonstrated in this research.”

by Kate Ashford, Forbes Magazine, 2/24/15.

Read more at … http://www.forbes.com/sites/kateashford/2015/02/24/office-productivity/

TIME MANAGEMENT & When to Schedule Your Most Important Work #HarvardBusinessReview

by Ron Friedman, Harvard Business Review, 6/27/14

“By now, you’ve probably noticed that the person you are midway through the afternoon is not the same person who arrived first thing in the morning. Research shows our cognitive functioning fluctuates throughout the day. If you’re like most people, you’ll find that you can get a lot done between 9:00am and 11:00am. Not so at 2:30pm. Later in the day, it often feels like we’re moving at a fraction of our morning pace.

That’s not an illusion. Recent studies have found that on average, people are considerably worse at absorbing new information, planning ahead and resisting distractions as the day progresses.”

Read more at … http://t.co/b0Qfe5C88U