How does taking time off increase your productivity?  Is it 10%, 20%, or more? Give yourself an estimate.

When you gave that estimate, what was the amount of time off you needed to get that percentage? Was it a couple of hours, half a day, a long weekend, a week, or multiple weeks?

Now assess, how well your routines allow you to take that amount of time off to increase your productivity.

How close are you to hitting the mark?

If you are like many other leaders, it is difficult to take time off.

Now put on your leadership hat and think about your team; as a whole and the individuals within the team. How much time off does your team need to increase its productivity? How about the individuals on the team?

How do you ensure the team and the individuals are meeting that need?

This is one of those dilemma’s we create for ourselves.  We know time off is good for us and the team, yet we don’t take it. Kind of like sleep. What would be the return on investment of time off if your team regularly took it?

In the words of Stephen Covey; “Are you too busy chopping with your ax to sharpen it?”.

Want to do something about it? Consider two areas; culture and innovation.



What is the culture within your organization around taking time off. How are colleagues treated when they regularly take time off?

“Can you believe she is taking another Friday and Monday off? She is never here.”

Have you heard conversations such as the one below in your organization?

Manager #1: “I have 25 vacation days on the books, I don’t have the time to take vacation.”

Manger #2: “I am in a similar situation; I have 32 days.”

“I am looking for everyone to take at least 10 days of vacation over the next six months. You are all more productive after a break.”

Add comments from your organization that accurately reflect its culture about time off. What do those comments tell you?

If you want a particular culture, be deliberate and take specific actions to establish the culture. Set the expectations and enforce them.

If you want taking time off to accepted; reward and recognize those who do. Pay attention to the amount of time off individuals are taking and make a point of noticing those who are not taking the time. How can you make taking time off more acceptable.



Here are some of the ways companies are innovating to get their employees to take time off.

  • Unlimited vacation days – with some date restrictions and only general guidance to act in the best interest of the company.
  • Floating holidays – workers can select when they want to take certain holidays to be able to string several days together.
  • Made up holidays – organizations make up a holiday to generate several days off a year. Such as the last “Final Fridays”. The last Friday of each quarter.
  • Organization shutdown – the business closes for specific dates forcing everyone to take the same days. Thanksgiving week or a summer shutdown.
  • Vacation stipend – corporations pay a stipend to individuals taking two continuous weeks of leave. Think of being paid $2000 extra to go on vacation.
  • Paid leave prior to your first day – new hires are paid to take the first two weeks off come to work ready to go.
  • Paid sabbaticals – popular in academia, some corporations are allowing professionals to do the same. All to refresh and make workers more productive.

Productivity and efficiency may be exactly what your organization needs to get to the next level. A key step to getting there may be taking a break.