Vacations necessaryWorkers who feel guilty about taking...


Vacations necessary

Workers who feel guilty about taking vacations shouldn't. In fact, most bosses believe their workers are more productive if they take time off from the day-in, day-out grind, according to a new survey.

Indeed, top executives feel they, too, need vacations for the same reasons their employees do: to prevent burnout, increase productivity on the job and improve personal relationships.

Out of 500 executives across the United States surveyed by Chicago-based Hyatt Hotels Corp., 81 percent said the job performance of those they manage improves after they take vacations.

It is the boss's responsibility, said 67 percent, to make sure those working for them take time off, and 92 percent said they urge employees to take all their vacation days.

As for the executives themselves, 78 percent said vacations are "absolutely necessary to prevent executive burnout."

"The most surprising thing about the study is that executives today don't fit the general perception of a hard-working, hard-driving successful businessman or woman who passes up vacations to devote extra time to the job," said psychologist Howard I. Glazer.

Mr. Glazer, a Cornell University specialist in corporate stress management, is a consultant to Hyatt.

Casual office dress

Go into American President Cos.' posh headquarters building in downtown Oakland, Calif., on a Friday and you are likely to find Bruce Seaton, chairman and chief executive officer of the company, in a polo shirt and comfortable slacks.

John Lillie, the president, is likely to be just as casual. And a number of other executives and employees will be following suit -- with no suit.

The lack of ties and high heels doesn't mean the company is losing its usual staid and formal flavor. It just shows that the company is willing to let its normally stiff hair down for a worthy cause.

In this case, the cause is the United Way, a national organization aiding a wide range of charities. The casual dress code on Fridays is one of several incentives American President, which operates a ship line and a domestic transportation network, has installed to boost contributions to the campaign.

Under the American President program, employees can come to work on Fridays in casual clothes if they've made a certain level of contributions to the United Way drive.

Once an employee has met the contribution level, he or she gets a United Way pin to wear on Fridays -- a sort of badge showing they are allowed to go without the corporate uniform.

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