If you want to be the best, you have to put in the hours. So goes the conventional thinking in virtually every profession, from office workers to professional athletes. It turns out there is no correlation between the number of hours an employee works and their performance, according to a study by research firm Gartner.
And yet, despite those findings, 77% of human resources leaders believe that better-performing employees work longer hours, according to the same survey. It’s a notable number considering HR teams are facing their own burnout crisis, as CHRO Daily reported last month.
HR leaders should establish proactive rest policies alongside managers to mitigate these declines and keep organizations humming. That means encouraging employees to use all their vacation time and offering flexible and reasonable schedules.
This mindset seems to fly in the face of tradition, which has always dictated that burning the midnight oils gets the most out of people. Yet consider that 22% of employees on average are burned out, while at companies with proactive rest policies, that number drops to a staggeringly low 2%, according to Gartner. That’s less than one-tenth the normal rate. Proactive rest goes beyond offering a set number of vacation days a year, and it isn’t just good for employees’ well-being; it’s also good for business. A survey of 3,500 employees found that proactive rest increased their performance by 26%.
Employees rely on leadership to set the tone and normalize proactive rest. In a March Deloitte survey, 69% of employees agreed their employers should do more to help them fight burnout. Some employers are doing so.
Samsung just announced that it would let employees take off one Friday a month after rival computer chip maker SK Hynix did the same last year. Other popular examples include:
– No-meeting calendar blocks
– A companywide office closure once a year
– The now-topical summer Fridays
Leaders will need to find the right version and timing for proactive rest that works for their organizations, but the message is clear: To get the best out of people, give them time to recharge.
The most compelling data, quotes, and insights from the field.
A.I. could upend the workforce by making some white-collar jobs obsolete, according to a McKinsey report.
“Generative A.I.’s impact is likely to most transform the work of higher-wage knowledge workers because of advances in the technical automation potential of their activities, which were previously considered to be relatively immune from automation.”
Around the Table
A round-up of the most important HR headlines, studies, podcasts, and long-reads.
– Meta employees are split on the new return-to-office rules, with some still hoping for an exemption. Insider
– Twitter’s Boulder employees can now work from home…because the company got evicted from its office. TechCrunch
– A judge awarded a Philadelphia Starbucks employee $25.6 million in a racial discrimination suit. CNN
– The American South now has as many manufacturing jobs as the Midwest. Economist
Everything you need to know from Fortune.
50 Best Places. Where Americans choose to live directly impacts an employer’s talent pool, especially as companies return to the office. Fortune analyzed nearly 1,900 cities nationwide to determine the 50 best places for families to live. —Alexa Mikhail
Parenting problems. A mom’s snarky email signature sums up the difficulties of being a working parent. “Please note I may be slower to respond to email in the months of June, July, and August due to the United States’ inability to provide affordable childcare for working mothers.” —Chloe Taylor
Settlement transparency. Goldman Sachs and Twitter recently paid multimillion-dollar settlements for workplace bullying and discrimination. Shareholders and the public deserve to know exactly how much and for what, workers’ rights advocates argue. —Ariella Steinhorn, Amber Scorah, and Chelsey Glasson
Student loan benefits. Student loan payments will resume in October, allowing companies to provide the popular repayment benefit. —Alicia Adamczyk
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