2 May 2018

lawrence on beach - time out

Taking time out on the beach.

prɛznˈtiːɪzəm/
noun: presenteeism
The practice of being present at one’s place of work for more hours than is required, especially as a manifestation of insecurity about one’s job.

How many hours do you work each week? Do you check your emails when you’re on holiday?

According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), ‘presenteeism’ has more than tripled since 2010. According to the CIPD survey, 69% of the 1,000 companies surveyed had experienced team mates working whilst on annual leave, but only 27% had taken an action to reduce it.

Whilst some business leaders would ask, ‘what’s the problem?’ having teams working every hour of the day could be incredibly damaging for your business in the long term. Employees need evenings, weekends and annual leave to switch off and take time out.

This time is essential.

I often blog about the importance of business leaders and entrepreneurs switching off and taking time out. It’s a lesson I learned many years ago when I proudly announced to my uncle that I hadn’t taken a holiday for nine years. He was outraged and I quickly realised that was not the way forward. So if we entrepreneurs and CEOs should take time out, it’s absolutely our responsibility to ensure that the team around us are switching off too.

One of the core values that we hold at UKFast is passion. When you work with people who are incredibly passionate about the job they do, it can be a real challenge to encourage them to switch off. How do you maintain someone’s passion for their role whilst ensuring they get the rest that they need?

It’s something that I am learning more about every single week. I have always been a proponent of leaving the office on time. Last year we cut the working day by 30 minutes (cutting 3.5 weeks from the working year) because that time in the evenings is incredibly valuable. There’s no replacement for getting home at a reasonable time, relaxing with your family and seeing friends.

Of course, there are exceptions to the rule. I remember one occasion when an engineer was working on a particular project for a client and refused to go home until it was complete. We found him catching some sleep on the couch in the lounge! Whilst the commitment and passion is commendable, of course this isn’t sustainable behaviour.

Ultimately, it’s essential to remember the bigger picture. The health and wellbeing of the team is paramount.

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