Here in Britain we are slowly returning to work after the extended weekend that comes around every August. The Bank Holiday gives everyone a chance to enjoy a bit of extra time in the summer sun which should get us all ready for the build up to the next break we’ll get at Christmas. In Britain we face the very unusual situation of offices being either depleted or completely empty for much of August and the week over Christmas, but do our holidays make us more motivated at work?
An interesting article on the BBC website explores the freedoms we have with our holidays in Britain compared with the much shorter, and in some cases non existent holidays employees are granted in the USA. It would appear from reading the article that the US is the only country out of the top 21 richest in the world not to impose a legal mandate on employers granting time off. But what does this do to employee motivation? Do us Brits find ourselves more motivated as a result of our holidays or does the time they take up interfere with overall productivity?
There will be many views from many quarters arguing the merits or otherwise of employee holidays, but their effect on motivation should not be ignored. The idea of holiday allowance being awarded on merit or as a result of long service is one that may appeal to some companies as a way of offering an incentive to workers. But rather than motivating junior employees, could this approach just lead to staff resenting those co-workers who have holiday allowances that they don’t?
Burnout is also a factor in employees’ holiday as a well deserved break from work can ease stress levels and allow staff time away from the stresses and strains of work. Although work levels may be hit while employees take holiday, there is surely an argument that productivity levels out when compared with stressed, tired and unmotivated staff who have not been granted holiday.
There is no doubt that employees in Britain are lucky when it comes to their holiday allowance, and changes in the law over the years have made it a much fairer working environment for employees with rights and privileges that have never been seen before.
Employee motivation is now key, with bosses realising that they will get more out of a happy and rewarded workforce than by cracking the whip. Indeed, employee motivation is now big business, with strategies and award schemes being established to offer employees incentives and rewards for improving their work.
This British approach to working practices has done well to survive given the increasing use of American corporate motivation practices by UK firms. It would appear that whatever practices are adopted over here, there’s nothing that will ever stop us from enjoying our holiday.