After dealing with labor shortages and employee burnout, companies are taking things up a notch with work perks in 2023. And we’re not just talking about lunch stipends or ping-pong tables in the office. It’s called proactive rest. And it’s more than just taking your vacation days. Because waiting until you’re burned out to take care of yourself is so 2022.
What is proactive rest?
Proactive rest is how some companies are stepping up to prevent employee burnout at work, according to a Gartner workplace trends report. Instead of only relying on PTO, workplaces are adjusting their policies to give their employees breaks and flexibility. It's similar to active recoveries in fitness — rather than taking a full day of rest from working out, you might opt for a walk or some stretching instead.
At work, proactive rest might look like:
No-meeting blocks. When your company designates certain hours or days for no meetings.
Flexible lunch breaks. Meaning, employees can choose when they take their breaks.
Mandatory breaks. And that could be in addition to lunch. It may look like “wellness time” for you to take naps in the afternoon.
Four-day work weeks. As in, getting the same amount of work done in fewer days — with no pay cuts.
Office closures. That could mean a week-long company-wide break or summer Fridays. So you can switch from “TGIF” to “TGIT” from June through September.
Why is proactive rest important?
Prioritizing rest can help companies boost productivity. It may sound counterintuitive, but a Gartner survey found a 26% increase in performance at companies that incorporated proactive rest. Plus, it could incentivize people to apply for jobs at these companies — and even slow turnover rates. Because burned out employees are more than three times likely to look for new jobs.
For employees, burnout is still extremely common. And being able to get ahead of it can help avoid having to recover from burnout later on. Building rest into the work calendar can help encourage employees to actually use it. Because Americans aren’t the best at taking their PTO, even when it’s offered. And they typically put in extra hours: The average employee worked nine unpaid hours per week in 2022. If it sounds like hustle culture, it is. While it may be helpful for climbing the corporate ladder, it might come at the expense of your mental health.
Companies are taking extra measures to keep employees’ mental health in check in 2023. Because free office snacks just aren’t cutting it anymore. And having the freedom to take care of yourself now can prevent you from struggling down the road.
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