Today is officially/unofficially Leave The Office Early Day. Yes, really. While it's not a day observed by any governments around the world (yet), there are many reasons why organizations across the globe should take part.
Hear me out. This isn't some clever trick for employees to skip out on work - it's a way to recognize your team for their achievements and encourage employee wellness.
Here are four reasons you should participate in Leave The Office Early Day:
1. Your employees are burning the midnight oil
Here's something interesting. You know that 40-hour work week we're all familiar with? Well, according to Gallup, it's closer to a 49-hour week. In fact, 11 million workers in the U.S. reported working more than 59 hours a week! While it's great to see people so dedicated to their work, it's important not to burn the candle at both ends.
Encouraging a culture where employees are forced to stretch themselves thin can have negative effects on mental health, productivity and quality of work.
So, managers, if you have employees who've made a solid contribution to the success of the business - and worked overtime to do it - give them the afternoon off. They've earned it and they'll appreciate the opportunity to decompress as thanks for their solid performance.
2. It helps build a culture of recognition
It feels good to be recognized for a job well done. Fostering a culture of recognition can have a positive impact on productivity and engagement. While many forms of recognition are monetary (think salary bonuses), there's a lot of literature out there that shows non-monetary recognition works just as well, if not better.
If you want to recognize your employees in a meaningful way, reward them for their great work with the go-ahead to leave work early. But before you do, don't forget to truly make this recognition meaningful by clearly stating why they deserve a little extra time off.
Be specific! Outline the positive impact their performance had on the business and why it matters.
3. It's a great opportunity for teambuilding
Just because you're leaving the office early, doesn't mean you're necessarily leaving your colleagues. One way to celebrate Leave The Office Early Day is to arrange a group activity for the afternoon. Team-building events are great because they help establish trust between workers, improve communication, group cohesion, and most importantly, they can be a ton of fun.
Team-building activities can also be used to help employees get to know the people around the organization they don't regularly interact with, as well as the colleagues they work with day-to-day, on a deeper level.
To make it work, be sure to select a team-building activity that is team-based and collaborative, like team sports or collaborative exercises.
4. Challenge yourself to make up the time another way
Here's a different way of looking at Leave The Office Early Day: Make it about encouraging productivity. It's simple - incentivize employees to work smarter versus harder. This approach can take many forms.
For example, last summer we ran a campaign to speed up processes across our organization. Once we hit 100 reported speed improvements, executives rewarded employees by hosting a team barbecue. But you could do something as simple as, "If you get all your work done, you can leave early today."
This approach rewards outcomes over effort and is a great way to encourage productivity across your team.
Give your employees the afternoon off!
These are just a few examples of why Leave the Office Early Day is actually a great way to encourage employee wellness, reduce workplace stress and, at the same time, reinforce a high-performance culture.