It’s not been an easy year — for anyone.
Businesses, families, and individuals have shared the stress and strain of a tumultuous economy. Anxiety levels among employees have approached historic highs in the wake of foreclosures, bankruptcies, lay-offs, and frozen or reduced salaries. Meanwhile, corporate executives and managers have been forced to make tough decisions that have undoubtedly resulted in more than a couple of sleepless nights.
Now there is talk of the economy turning a corner, and hopefully this is true. But such a corner, if it does materialize, will first come to the macro world before it is seen by many in the micro world. And it’s at the micro level where individual companies and each of their employees live.
August has traditionally served as the most popular month for vacations in Corporate America and throughout many parts of the world. August to most employees means time away from the office, more time spent with family, time spent at the beach or on a lake or quietly at home.
On one hand, this makes August one of the least productive months of the year in terms of business output. On the other, I would contend that vacation time in fact contributes to a more productive employee upon his or her return. And this is not an insignificant point, particularly considering the rough ride that 2009 has been thus far.
So I would recommend that managers encourage employees to take some time off this month, and they should lead by example. Get away from the office. Shut down the BlackBerry. Clear the head and refuel the batteries, and come back to work in a more creative and innovative frame of mind.
In doing so, your executive team may soon have a new respect for August and how it can contribute to a more promising and profitable second half of 2009.