Do you support or hinder a climate of recovery in your workplace? A leadership self-assessment.
By Madison Hanscom, PhD
Recovery and downtime are important for a happy and productive workforce. As a leader, you should consider your role in this process. Reflect on how you contribute to the climate surrounding recovery in your workplace. A study from the American Psychological Association recently showed when companies encourage people to take their vacation time to disconnect, employees come back feeling more refreshed, motivated, and productive than companies that do not encourage taking time off (1).
This shows the value in building a culture that allows people to disconnect without feeling guilty or mentally tethered to work at all times. When people experience prolonged stress at work, this can contribute to negative health and psychological outcomes over time. Further, there’s an opportunity for these negative feelings to spill over into the home domain, creating a situation where someone cannot escape stress.
This also has major implications for working remotely. As virtual work is becoming more and more common, people are starting to experience how difficult it can be to create boundaries when working from home. Another recent study examined individuals who transitioned to remote work during Covid-19 and took a closer look at those who adjusted well (sustained or improved job performance levels) (2). The successful individuals reported having the right equipment at home, engaged in personal daily planning (e.g., daily checklists), felt support from their coworkers and supervisors, and took leisure time to relax. That last one is really important – people who took recovery time were actually more productive.
Leaders play a role in setting norms that help employees to rest and recuperate so they can have longer term success. This involves supporting employees and being flexible when possible, but it also involves walking the talk. This means taking care of yourself by creating your own boundaries between life and work.
Below you will find a small set of “quiz” items to help you reflect on how you support or hinder a climate of recovery in your workplace.
Do you regularly…
• Encourage people to take care of their health before any other production or business initiatives/goals
• Empower employees to work flexibly to better balance their wellbeing (e.g., allow them to stack work hours as they please if they want to take a day off)
• Disconnect from employees when they take vacation time (e.g., do not message them or expect them to work while on vacation)
• Paint a positive picture surrounding vacation time without making people feel guilty for taking it
• Wait for employees to be responsive to work messages (emails, texts, internal platform instant messages) until work hours (e.g., not in the early morning or late evening)
• Set an example by creating and sticking to personal work/life boundaries
If you responded “no” to any of the items above, it might be worth some reflection. These activities help to promote a climate of recovery.
At Propulo Consulting, we care about the health and wellbeing of all workers. We partner with you to improve the world of work using the latest insights from research. Our team has the expertise to help your business build a safer and healthier culture.