Today is National Leave The Office Early Day. What’s the best way to celebrate? Send your employees home.

That may not be what you’d expect to hear from YouEarnedIt. We built our platform to create a better employee experience – one where your employees want to come to work every day — to improve performance and increase productivity. Isn’t the point to keep people at work? Doing more? Moving your business forward?

Yes and no.

Many employees regularly spend extra time at jobs they love. When we enjoy the work we’re doing and feel connected to our colleagues and our company, it’s hard to leave the office at the end of the day, let alone leave the office early.

Sometimes it’s not pleasure that keeps employees at work. There may be pressure (from peers or management) to spend extra time at the office. It can feel like a competition for who puts in the most hours. As a result, according to Forbes, the 40-hour workweek is increasingly a thing of the past.

But, being busy isn’t the same thing as being productive. Putting in more hours doesn’t always lead to more and better work. Giving your employees structured time off contributes to a better employee experience – and encourages your employees to be more efficient and productive.

30 Employee Rewards to Take Back your Weekend

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Why Leave the Office Early?

Time is the one thing that your employees can’t get more of. But they wish they could. Gallup tells us that 61% of working Americans feel that they don’t have enough time to do what they want, and Pew says the same about 9 out of 10 working mothers.

This lack of time can lead to real business consequences. About 28% of US employees are showing signs of job burnout (and even more in healthcare) that leads to lower performance and turnover. And Flexjobs found that working parents value work-life balance and flexible hours more than they value salary when they’re looking for new jobs.

Sending employees home early definitely leads to happier employees – but more importantly, planned time off also boosts team productivity. This research study showed that teams of bankers performed better and more efficiently when members were forced to take scheduled time off. By having to back each other up, the team was more proactive in designing processes to make work flow more smoothly, they avoided common problems, and their overall employee experience was better.

Quality time = Better Employee Experience

If you can’t send your employees home early, consider improving their employee experience by helping them get more out of their time off. Ashley Whillans of Harvard Business School has found that people who use time-saving services (like TaskRabbit or a cleaning service) are happier (and therefore more productive) than those who don’t.

Here are a few ideas for giving your employees more time:

  • Give them a day to skip the commute and work from home.
  • Reward them with a ride service, car service, or credit for public transportation so they can read or work during the commute.
  • Let them take a longer lunch or PTO to do errands.

If you want more ideas – see our guide: 30 Rewards to Take Back your Weekend.

If you are a manager, send your employees home early. If you’re not, consider asking for the time to go out and celebrate. And when everyone returns to the office, they’ll return refreshed, relaxed, and ready to work.

About YouEarnedIt

YouEarnedIt is the employee experience platform powered by the science of motivation and the mission of improving the lives of employees everywhere, one company at a time. Founded in 2013, YouEarnedIt grows company culture and improves bottom-line performance metrics through its robust engagement platform that delivers recognition, rewards, incentives, and team insights. Named to Entrepreneur Magazine’s list of Best Company Cultures in 2017, the Austin-based SaaS company and its technology platform are built on the four pillars of employee experience: connection, meaning, impact and appreciation. To request a demo, visit www.youearnedit.com/demo.

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Susan Mack