In a recent blog, we suggested building a summer enjoyment plan into the workday to keep employees motivated during the dog days of August.
Now, it’s time to plan a way to counter the post-holiday blues, which also can cause a dip in productivity and prompt employees to consider making a change, just for change sake.
It’s no wonder. Many of us spend all year looking forward to the warm weather and our vacation. With Labour Day comes the hard, cold awakening that summer is over. The idea of returning to our regular routine can be extremely demotivating.
The back-to-work blues is a universal ailment.
- A recent study by the University of Manchester in the UK shows 76% of employees report stress levels are back to pre-holiday highs within a week of returning to work. And the Monday morning after a holiday is a time of “greater depression” for the majority of employees, according to the study’s author Professor Cary Cooper.
- The Beijing Today newspaper reported that 35% of office workers between the ages of 25 and 40 in Beijing suffer post-holiday blues.
- In Australia, Gordon Black, the executive director of Black Dog Institute, a world-renowned facility for mood disorders, says the back-to-work blues is like “putting a harness back on a horse after it has had a taste of freedom.”
Fortunately, there’s a way to allow people to continue to experience ‘a taste freedom’, albeit creative freedom, on a regular basis. The staffing solution experts at The Bagg Group suggest offering employees scheduled time to daydream and hatch ideas. Some of the best companies in the GTA, and elsewhere, are doing just that.
Google is famous for freeing its employees for 20% of their time so they can pursue their creative ideas. This break from regular work has resulted in such innovations as Google News, Google Earth, and new features for Gmail and Search.
Long before there was Google, 3M was running a “15% paid time to dream” program to encourage employees to come up with ideas for the company. The pay-off? In 1974, during his daydreaming time, 3M scientist Art Fry came up with the Post-It Note.
Even if you can’t free employees for long, allowing an hour once a week, or even bi-weekly, to dream big can help people overcome the back-to-work blahs.
The Globe and Mail reports that Columbia Credit Union, WA, gives employees a weekly “genius hour” to work on ideas or learn new skills. During this hour, bosses answer their phones. But another option is to hire temporary staff to take over such tasks. Some of The Bagg Group clients turn to us for that very reason.
Time-to-imagine can go a long way to fueling productivity by reminding employees that work can be a place of possibility and opportunity.
As well, The Bagg Group recruiters, who have successfully placed more than 57,000 candidates over 40 years, confirm that such a program can help attract the best candidates.
As the saying goes, a change is as good as a holiday. Ensuring the occasional break from routine and change of focus can help charge an employee’s batteries all year round.