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holidays -> increased productivity

The team I manage has just came back after a long winter holidays vacation.

They are now VERY productive, because they are well rested.

I wonder if productivity will increase if I give them more vacation days - for example, 3-4 days every month, in addition to their usual vacation time.

Also, I know that some people in my team will simply not take those vacations.

Maybe I should force them take days off, from time to time.

Tuesday, January 6, 2004

You should do that if they show signs of stress or to break a pattern of work which seems wrong.  But don't get in the way of their flow, they'll just bite you.

There's a bunch of other things that can be done to relieve stress (apart from _that_).  But a lot of them should come out of the group itself rather than imposed.  If they do come up with something, bowling, darts, paintball (ugh), whatever it is then support it, if it needs some flexibility in time management then give that, if it needs some financial aid consider it.

If they want you to be involved with taking part in them then go ahead if you're comfortable with it, don't be too aloof but yet don't lie down with them.

Granny sucking eggs lessons continue overleaf...

Simon Lucy
Tuesday, January 6, 2004

I guess the converse of this is letting people have time off when they would otherwise not be productive.

Sometimes I don't feel inspired at all and I just sit and stare out the window. This is no good to anyone and it seems better to just forget about it for the day.

At an old client of mine, there was an American project maneger. She was truly dreadful in every sense, except one. She introduced the concept of the "personal day", where if you needed to have a day off you could just do it. She expected to get a phone call early in the morning to say you were taking a personal day. These days didn't eat into your holiday time (for permanent employees) and you could take 4 per year without any questions asked.

I believe that this was useful to both the company and her team and I am happy for people that work for me to take these personal days, when something happens or when they just know that they won't be productive.

Obviously, it is open to abuse, but I think that the overall benefit is worthwhile. Also, we would hope that by hiring the "right people", this abuse would be minimized.

Steve Jones (UK)
Tuesday, January 6, 2004

The occasional "mental health" day can help some people, but I think longer breaks are even more important. It takes me at least a week to stop thinking of the little problems from work and relax. If you haven't taken a full two week vacation in a while you've probably forgotten what it feels like.

Tom H
Tuesday, January 6, 2004

I think I get more work done during the holidays because 50% of the office is out on vacation.

So I get bothered 50% less often, and probably get 50% more work done.  :P

John Rose
Tuesday, January 6, 2004

Random thoughts:
1) Wait until the next productivity lull. Tell the team you've just decided to give them an additional week's vacation every year, with a few provisos:
- They must take five days in a row
- Laptops and cell phones have to be left behind
- They have to go somewhere interesting and send a postcard
(you can then laughingly say 'of course, your vacation time is your own, but I strongly recommend that's how you spend it')

2) Ditto on the personal days thing.

3) The occasional "it's a beautiful day outside. Everyone go home" works too.

Most importantly - that you have even noticed this puts you head and shoulders above most managers. Work *with* your people to maintain the personal growth throughout the office.


Tuesday, January 6, 2004

Steve Jones, you have a *window* to stare out??  :-)

When I'm like that, all I can do is stare at my desk, or stare at my monitor and hope the screen-blanker doesn't kick in to show me the bags under my eyes.

Wednesday, January 7, 2004

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