Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Importance of Play for Adults, and Why it Makes You a Better Employee

After reading the headline, we may have already lost some of you. The importance of play? We are here not just to address those of you who do not think the words "important" and "play" belong in the same sentence, but to address all Americans. Even people who would readily agree that it is important to make time for play still don't do so enough.

Today, the average employed person is on the job an additional 163 hours per year, compared to figures for 1969. 25% of full-time workers spend 49 or more hours on the job each week, and 3 out of 4 poll respondents admitted to being on the job more than 40 hours per week. Increased work hours and time wasted in front of the TV and other media devices leaves less time for us to truly play. When you look at these numbers and put them next to the increased obesity rates, depression, and other chronic diseases, it is no wonder why we are so sick.

American society has, in recent decades, moved away from designated "play" time for adults. Many employers are finding ways to incentivize workers to stay in the office for lunch. Another incentive to keep workers in their desks is the option to cash in on unused vacation days. Of course, vacation is one important aspect of adult play, and it is something that Americans do not get enough of. Even though the average American income is 65 times higher than that of half the world's population, we have significantly less time off to enjoy this higher income. More than half of American workers get fewer than 15 paid vacation days per year, compared with 5 to 8 weeks in Sweden, and an average of 6 weeks among French, British, and German workers.

What many employers don't take into account is that the time spent away from the office is imperative to combating employee burnout. When employees can take time to "regenerate" they are able to be more creative, productive, and satisfied in their jobs. Vacation, or play time, allows people to build new connections in the brain. Also, employee satisfaction goes up in the weeks leading up to a vacation, as well as upon returning to work. Clearly, all of this can be a huge asset to a company. One company even reported that, upon increasing vacation time from 2 to 3 weeks, employee retention problems went from 360% to just 60%, and sales increased by 15%. After all, an overworked brain is unable to efficiently problem solve, focus, or plan; a burned-out employee is just a warm body in a chair.

With Outski, you can easily and affordably keep your employees happy with our 401(play)® benefit program. Not only do we provide your workers with a structured and goal-oriented way to save for vacation, but we also provide them with access to wholesale travel rates, all on an interactive platform that makes planning easy. Increasing employee output really is as simple as improving your company's culture by encouraging travel. If your company is looking for a way to increase employee retention, productivity, and sales, contact us here (under "I'm a company") to set up a private demo.  


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