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4 Ways Employers Can Help Combat Relaxation Remorse

the result of combatting relaxation remorse - an employee smiling while working at their laptopBeing a business owner or leader comes with a lot of responsibilities. One of the biggest (and most important) is to support your team’s well-being. We know the stress of juggling the day-to-day and the continuing struggle to find and keep talent, and we know that having a happy, inspired, and productive team is critical to business success! That’s why we are sharing four ways you can help combat relaxation remorse in your organization. 

What is Relaxation Remorse?

The definition below will help, but for a more complete overview, check out our last blog.

Relaxation remorse is the feeling of guilt when taking breaks.

This feeling of needing to always be productive can lead to stress, lower productivity, and lower satisfaction. 

How to Combat Relaxation Remorse

As we mentioned, many companies have been struggling to not only find but keep talent. Perhaps even in your own organization, you may have experienced the impacts of the Great Resignation and struggled with Retention. In understanding why employees are leaving, we hear time and time again the desire for a greater purpose and community and an attempt to secure a greater work-life balance, aka work-nonwork balance, which we talk about in our last blog.  Part of this includes combating what we are describing as relaxation remorse.

People can experience relaxation remorse during breaks both during and outside of work.  This can be a challenge for employers, so we recommend instead of focusing energy on what you don’t know or can control, shift it towards the things you can control.

work-nonwork balanceWe all share the same goal of supporting our team members’ well-being. Here are four ways you can actively combat relaxation remorse in your workplace.

1. Create a culture that supports balance

Be mindful of the culture you are creating for your employees. It really does all start at the top! Show your team members that it’s unrealistic to be “on” 24/7. Trust us, as a small business, we understand the pressure and importance of “hustling” and navigating growth. But, make sure you are creating one that supports a culture of work-nonwork balance. 

2. Honor your policies

Do you have an unlimited PTO policy? Make sure you allow employees to utilize it – seeing is believing. If you don’t honor your work policies, then employees will no longer believe in them. 

Even if you offer a more traditional PTO policy, such as accrued paid vacation, don’t create tension or guilt when employees choose to take their time off. Honor their time away, encourage everyone to own their responsibilities to ensure they are covered, and celebrate their return to work without the guilt or pressure. 

setting status as "vacationing" on Slack

In Slack, you can use the “Clear after” feature to keep your notifications off until you return to the office.

At Hire Ventures, it’s really important to us that when our team is on vacation that they are truly on vacation. Some ways you can help set that standard may include:

  • Suggest they turn off notifications – this goes for Slack, Teams, or whatever messaging platforms you use. 
  • Normalize status changes – encourage employees to utilize status features by changing to “🌴Vacationing“ before they unplug.
  • Providing an OOO template to use for email replies. 
  • Sending a personalized message – On the last day before vacation, send a message wishing them a happy vacation! This message is also a great opportunity to reiterate those work-nonwork boundaries.

3. Provide opportunities for relaxation

Offering activities such as team hikes and lunches are a great way to encourage relaxation, social connection, and employee engagement. 

example of using microbreaks to combat relaxation remorse - Slack notification sharing a team member did during their break

Another powerful tactic is allowing employees to take microbreaks throughout the day. A break as short as 5 to 10 minutes can lead to higher energy levels throughout the day. Simply giving employees the autonomy to take a short break can entice feelings of satisfaction. Also, normalizing these breaks may potentially lower the guilt associated with relaxing. 

If you have a geographically dispersed or remote team, you can still provide these opportunities for relaxation! Remind your team to take microbreaks. As a remote team ourselves, we have lots of ideas of how you can make this fun:

  • Create a separate Slack channel – This space can be an opportunity to build social connections if you encourage people to share photos of what they do on their microbreak. 
  • Switch up who sends the message – By changing who’s delegated to send the message, you can experience two great perks. First, you’re engaging more employees! Second, you’re normalizing the practice without standardizing the time so you can keep employees on their toes. You may even increase the chances of those sweet “I got the reminder when I needed it most” moments. 

4. Promote mindfulness in the workplace

Mindfulness gives employees a place to think and a chance to be present. Practicing mindfulness also helps people relax, improves focus, and reduces stress levels. All things we want in our team! 

Incorporating mindfulness is going to look different for every company. Here are two great resources on how to stay mindful when working remotely and how to add mindfulness to your workplace wellness program. 

More on Workplace Well-being

With remote and hybrid work proving to be the future of work, work-nonwork balance will be an ongoing challenge that employees and employers alike need to keep front of mind. The need for workplace wellness or well-being support has never been greater! That’s why we’ve committed to sharing as many tips and resources as we can throughout our Workplace Well-being Blog series! 

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