6 Steps to Stress-Free Time Off From Work

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Planning any big vacations for the coming year? Looking forward to a little rest and relaxation?

Or maybe, deep down, you’re dreading it.

You wouldn’t be the only one. According to a Glassdoor survey of over 2,200 workers, the average U.S. employee who receives paid vacation/paid time off (PTO) only takes about half (54%) of those days. The top reasons? They fear getting behind (34%), they worry no one else can do the work while they’re out (30%), they’re completely dedicated to the company (22%), and they feel they can never be disconnected (21%).

Being completely committed to your company and the work is a great thing. But being so stressed or fearful that the work will pile up (or be screwed up) if you take some time off isn’t so great. It’s certainly not healthy. And it’s not even necessarily good for your career or your bottom line. A Project Time Off study on the State of the American Vacation found that Americans gave up $66.4 billion in 2016 benefits due to the number of vacation days they forfeited. And get this: According to the study, those who had given up their vacation time were “less likely than non-forfeiters to have been promoted within the last year (23% to 27%) and to have received a raise or bonus in the last three years (78% to 84%).”

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The Workplace of the Future is Yours to Build

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Do you feel inspired in certain environments? Stifled and stressed in others? It’s not just your imagination. There are scientific studies that explain why most people hate working in cubicles, or why we’re better at conceptual thinking when we’re in rooms with high ceilings.

In his TEDx Talk, Designing a Better Future, architect Scott Wyatt explores the power of design and how it shapes the way we think and perform. He’s now applying what he’s learned to create elegant, functional floor plans and building arrangements that are designed for the way work gets done today. “Generative” buildings, for example, encourage collaboration, creativity and chance meetings with people you don’t see every day.

Looking toward the challenges of the future, Wyatt reminds us that this is a choice: “We’ll choose to build workplaces that distract, or we’ll choose to build workplaces that motivate.”

But of course, the structure itself is only part of the solution. We have to break down the other barriers that undermine quality thinking and performance. And there seem to be more of those now than ever before. As the world of work changes, your learning and development strategy will have to change, too. The question is, will you wait until the point where you have no other option, or will you take the lead and build that future now?

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What To Do When Turnover Hits Your Dream Team

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There’s nothing better than a team that’s found its rhythm. Healthy debate, deep trust, respect for each others’ ideas, mutual accountability and support...it’s truly the dream team.

And then someone leaves.

Dealing with employee turnover is always a challenge, and it can be particularly disruptive when it happens to a tight-knit, high-performing team. No matter how great things are today, when a key person leaves, it can throw off your productivity, morale and even your results.

People leave. That’s the reality. But the best defense against turnover is having a plan in place before the inevitable happens. Let’s look at a Whole Brain ® approach you can follow to plan for turnover and keep your team on track when a member departs and a new member comes on board.

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How to Create Mentoring Relationships That Really Work

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What’s the number one thing your company can do to attract the best and brightest up-and-coming talent? Provide them with opportunities to learn and grow.

But what about keeping them once they join your organization?

More and more, companies are discovering that an effective mentoring program is one of the most powerful ways to build loyalty. According to Deloitte’s 2016 Millennial Survey, millennial employees who intend to stay with their organization for more than five years are twice as likely to have a mentor (68%) than not (32%).

But it’s not as simple as setting up a mentoring program. Whether or not a mentor pair is successful is highly dependent on the effectiveness of the mentor-mentee match.

So, how do you make a good match?

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No More Snoozers: How to Lead an Effective Meeting

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In Verizon Conferencing’s “Meetings in America” study, 91% of meeting attendees admitted to daydreaming during meetings. Nearly 40% of the respondents said they’ve taken a nap during a meeting. Are people sleeping through your meetings?

With attention at a premium in today’s world, keeping people engaged, even when they’re sitting right in front of you, is one of the biggest challenges you face when leading a meeting. If they’re not literally asleep, your participants might be texting, checking their emails or just generally tuned out. Telling people to put away their phones isn’t the answer. Making your meetings more effective is.

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Embracing Entrepreneurial Thinking for Greater Employee Engagement

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Are Millennials the most entrepreneurial generation ever? The jury’s still out, but one thing’s for sure: The Millennial generation’s interest and desire for entrepreneurial opportunities, along with an increasingly disruptive and fast-paced business climate, have sparked new conversations in organizations of all sizes about the importance of an entrepreneurial mindset.

All this attention focused on the need for employees to be more entrepreneurial echoes a lot of what we’ve heard for years about the importance of innovation. It plays out in a similar way, too. Executives say they want it. They recognize the benefits to the business. They talk about it in meetings. They put it in the values. They make it part of the employee value proposition. And then…not much changes.

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Will Work for Meaning: Engaging and Retaining Talent

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By most accounts, the Millennial generation is the most exhaustively studied and researched generation of all time. Organizations obsess and scrutinize the data to see what the implications are for business and the future of the workforce. What do Millennials want? What motivates them? How can we keep them—and keep them engaged?

Making sweeping, generalized statements about any large group of people is an easy trap to fall into, and that’s often the case with the way statistics about Millennial turnover and retention rates are interpreted. According to Deloitte’s Millennial Survey 2016, 44% are willing to leave their current employer for a new organization or to do something different within the next two years. Two in three expect to leave by 2020.

The oversimplified, boiled-down conclusion: This is a group of perennial job-hoppers who don’t have any real allegiance to their companies. But dig a little deeper, and you might find that the bigger story here is that many companies aren’t giving Millennials much reason to stay. And the issue may not be so neatly tied to a single generation.

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What Motivates People? Look for Clues in How They Think (VIDEO)

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In today’s business world, where the large majority of the work is knowledge work, each day can be different and challenging in its own way. Constant change means that most employees are dealing with simultaneous projects, shifting priorities, complex problems, lots of demands, and a never-ending stream of disruptions and distractions.

It’s not just a challenge to stay focused in this environment; it’s hard to stay motivated and engaged. In fact, recent research by Bersin by Deloitte attributes low employee engagement levels to the overwhelmed employee.

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Improve Employee Satisfaction by Rethinking the Workplace Experience

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HR is in the midst of a reinvention. Again.

From its early years as a “Personnel” function, HR has evolved in emphasis with the times through industrial psychology, organization dynamics, compliance and legal, and working hand in hand with finance. In other words, it’s been all over the place.

In Whole Brain® Thinking terms, though, the function has been pretty consistent. The focus traditionally has been heavily on the green, B-quadrant aspects of processes, structure, contingency planning and “rules,” combined with some red, C-quadrant employee engagement activities.

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5 Employee Engagement Questions Every Leader Should Be Asking

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A few months ago, Josh Bersin proclaimed that, after all the years of corporate handwringing over the war for talent, the battle is finally over. But before you exhale and move on to the next issue, it should also be noted that he declared talent the winner. 

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