Work-life issues for virtual teams can be very important, especially when your team is global and the potential to be working round the clock is real. We are increasingly hearing more about the business case for rest and renewal, and sadly over the course of the last decade since the annual vacation deprivation study began.
Here’s what I wrote back in 2006 based on the new annual Workplace Vacation Study: (link to http://biztoolkit.blogspot.ca/search?q=vacation+deprivation) :
Every year Expedia undertakes an International Vacation Deprivation (TM) Survey, looking at vacation habits of employed workers in the US, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, France and Australia.
This year's (2006) results included:
- 33% of employed adults in the US usually don't take all their vacation, with the average worker surveyed giving back an average of 4 days to their employer. This translates to 574 Million Vacation days/year worth, $75.72 Billion.
- 24% of employed adults in Canada usually don't take all their vacation, with the average employed person giving back an average of 2 vacation days to their employer. This translates to $5.1 Billion dollars per year.
I was interviewed last week by Kavita Gosyne of the Metro News here in Toronto. She was looking at the importance of vacation for all Canadian workers, and particularly for young professionals. As I mention in her article, vacations are important for workers of all ages. As I stated, "Not only is vacation time good for the employee, but it is good for the company. "A lot of it comes down to the difference between working and working productively. Are they(the employees) working at optimal productivity? Work-life balance impacts company productivity and profitability. It makes (good) business sense.".
What is the state of work-life balance for you? For your company? Are you fully recharged and working at optimal productivity levels? If you would like more information and resources I would invite you to visit my sister blog, Your Balanced Life!
Here’s a quick activity you can undertake as a virtual team – Time Tracker
Time needed 1 week plus 10 -15 minutes:
Materials needed: Pen and paper
Have team members track where their time is going over the course of a week. They may choose to do this by noting their day in 15-minute blocks. It might include: Start of day, projects (take a look at my own mapping from a few days).
Once the team has completed this, come back together and share your insights around key components like:
Collaboration with others
Administrative tasks – report
Personal Development – Training/Coaching/Mentoring
It may also be interesting to share your individual and group start and end times.
What does work-life look like for each of you? What does it mean? Depending on your own team this may be a very eye-opening conversation as it may also point to some significant differences in the team – i.e. who embraces a work-to-life mindset (i.e. I work so that I can have money to meet my needs and do what I want) or a live-to-work mindset (I work because of the joy, and benefits of work).
As you have these discussions and undertake this work, what do you notice? What changes if any are needed?
Enjoy your Wednesday,
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