title>Marilyn Reyes Burrows - Blogs

Time Off is Good for You and Your Company

Shawn Achor, the bestselling author of The Happiness Advantage and founder of consulting firm GoodThink, partnered on research with the Project: Time Off Coalition which confirmed that Americans are using less vacation time today than at any point in the last 40 years. That's unfortunate given their research confirms that vacation helps the entire company--from the employee's mental state and productivity, to the company's bottom line. In his book The Happiness Advantage, Achor mentions research that found when "the brain can think positively, productivity improves by 31 percent, sales increase by 37 percent, and creativity and revenues can triple." After decades of research on the topic, Achor concludes "the greatest competitive advantage in the modern economy is a positive and engaged brain."

Dedication with a twist of Balance

Yes, I’m one of those folks that has lost vacation days every year. I was bummed when space-banking options went away and we were left with the “use them or lose them” policy.

I take pride in my high work-ethic so complete corporate allegiance has been my thing for 20+ years. Even on maternity leave, when the boss called me urgently at 2-weeks post having twins, I agreed to come back to lead a special cross-business unit team. Why? Because I was told we would be “totally empowered” to make a difference at a time the company needed turnaround. We were promised an audience with the senior management team to make our recommendations.

So how did that turn out? Well after we presented our first well-documented and profitable business case to provide employees a discount for our products to help them better understand and represent our new services PLUS bring in revenue, our proposal was turned down. Why? The CEO said he was already paying these employees and if they weren’t already using our products they should be fired (simple for him to say since he made $24M that year)! So much for dragging myself to work prior to my 6-week maternity leave, staying up most of the nights as my twins took turns waking up for their feedings. But I justified the sacrifice since at least I was proud to say our team did accomplish one of our herculean recommendations by producing the company’s (and the industry’s) first cross-business unit bundled bill.

BTW, but probably an entirely separate Blog, I’ve learned to always keep my big idea proposal files as eventually someone calls me to ask if I still have the details. Note: we did eventually offer an employee discount and profitably expanded the program to large corporate partnerships.

Back to Project:Time Off, they report that 54% of Americans left vacation on the table in 2016 (employees forfeited 206 million vacation days in 2016). Honestly, my previous corporate environment didn’t really support people using all their vacation days. Achor found that four out of 10 employees say that they can't use paid vacation because they have too much work.

I’m happy to report that I’m now running my own marketing consulting business and have made time over the past few months for some refreshing breaks. Photos: The writer enjoying the Tivoli Fountain and Coliseum in Rome, Italy and going back to her roots with a visit to Cuba that included her family (shown with son Brandt Burrows).)

Marilyn Reyes Burrows Marilyn Reyes Burrows Marilyn Reyes Burrows

Here's to encouraging your employees to take time off, to a more productive and happy workforce, increased employee retention and improved company performance. Remember, to be truly engaged, your brain needs a break. So keep yourself fresh and remember to Use them not Lose Them!

Learn more about Shawn Achor and how to reap the benefits of a happier and more positive mind-set to achieve the extraordinary in our work and in our lives at his GoodThink site