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August 16, 2023

Invest in Rest: The ROI of Time Off

While paid time off is designed to benefit workers, it's also true that offering time for employees to rest, recharge and care for the health of their family members can yield benefits for employers, too.

Promoting employee rest during heat waves, encouraging mental recharge breaks, and offering paid time off for working parents to vaccinate their children will benefit your team members and yield long-term business gains.

In Today’s Newsletter:

  • Rising Temps, Falling Productivity: Downtime can help

  • Unplugging for Connection: How promoting paid time off pays off

  • Back to School, Back to Work: Family vaccines reduce employee absences

Rising Temps, Falling Productivity
Downtime can help

As heat waves continue in the U.S., a recent episode of The Daily podcast from The New York Times addresses the challenges employers face over extreme heat, health and productivity. One study shows the U.S. is losing 2.5 billion hours of work each year to heat.

  • What this means for your company: “Medical researchers have known for years that when people or workers are exposed to heat, they make more mistakes. They think less clearly. They work more slowly. They have more injuries,” noted Coral Davenport, energy and environmental policy correspondent for The New York Times.
  • Going further: Heat affects not only outdoor laborers, but also workers in un-air-conditioned indoor settings like warehouses, factories, and kitchens. Companies can support all of their workers by establishing a Heat Illness Prevention Plan, which could include providing rest breaks, hydration, training and personal protective equipment.
  • Start here: The White House directed the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to develop new workplace standards regarding extreme heat. In advance of new regulations, read our guidance on protecting your employees from extreme heat.
Learn more about protecting your employees from extreme heat.

Unplugging for Connection
How promoting paid time off pays off

Paid time off is a key benefit employers can offer to “protect workers’ ability to nurture relationships outside of work” – a strategy outlined by U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy for workplaces to combat the Loneliness Epidemic. Although this summer has seen more employees take time off than last year, a recent Pew Research survey reveals nearly half of workers don’t take full advantage of the time off their employer offers.

  • What this means for your company: Even if your company offers paid time off, your employees may worry about their ability to take advantage of this benefit. Create a culture that promotes work/life balance and encourages your managers to lead by example. Company-wide days of rest may provide a solution to employees who don’t take time off.
  • Going further: Studies show that workers who have dedicated time off to prioritize mental well-being and foster connections outside of work are more engaged, productive and energized on the job.

On the front lines:

  • HubSpot, as part of a broader strategic initiative to prevent worker burnout, closes down each year for a Global Week of Rest—helping employees to feel secure in their ability to unplug from work.
  • Similarly, Eventbrite closes on the first Friday of every month for a Brite Break.

  • Jon Leland, Chief Strategy Officer at Kickstarter, led a 4-day workweek initiative, because as he says, “I want people to do yoga with their neighbors, not their co-workers”. (Many in the restaurant industry are considering if a 4-day workweek could solve a worker shortage crisis in that industry.)

Learn how to advocate for dedicated mental health days at your company with our guide.

Back to School, Back to Work
Family vaccines reduce employee absences

As parents prepare to send their kids back to school, employers can take steps to support family vaccinations and increase productivity. When it comes to COVID-19, vaccination coverage rates among young children are declining while other age groups remain consistent.

  • What this means for your company: Vaccinations and other disease prevention could decrease the number of employee absences due to illness or caregiving requirements for sick family members. From providing PTO for working parents to attend vaccine appointments with their children to hosting family vaccine clinics, employers can help protect the health of children and help keep employees at work.
  • Going further: Research shows for every $1 spent on childhood vaccinations, our country saves $10.90. Last year the U.S. saw the consequences of parents not taking the time to prioritize sick children, as a lack of paid sick days resulted in inadequate time for proper care, recovery, and infection prevention.
  • Start here: Learn how business leaders can support working parents and reduce employee absenteeism by taking action on childhood vaccinations. 

What We’re Reading

Key Health Stats

Reuters: U.S. suicide deaths reached a record high in 2022, CDC data shows. The number of people who died by suicide in the U.S. hit a record 49,000 in 2022, a 2.6% increase over the prior year.

  • Join fellow business leaders for an interactive workshop on August 25 to discuss plans for National Suicide Prevention Month in September. Get in touch if you would like to participate.