Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Go ahead, leave work earlier today. It’s a holiday.

Today is the 5th annual “Leave the Office Earlier” day. No, we’re not making this up, you can read the press release.

Productivity expert and best-selling author, Laura Stack created the holiday based on the idea that most employees are dealing with increasingly heavier workloads by spending significantly more time at work. “Leave the Office Earlier” day is a way to get employees and employers to agree to limit their time at the office to eight hours, at least just for a day.

New productivity statistics show that most of us could probably use a break. During the first quarter of 2009, U.S. workers, who are already the most productive in the world, improved productivity by 1.1 percent in the business sector, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"Given today's economy, the eight-hour work day will probably remain a myth to working Americans for the foreseeable future," says Stack. "June 2nd isn't about playing hooky or ditching work sooner. It's an opportunity for people to focus on changing work patterns, adjusting priorities, and engaging in conversations to find ways to achieve work/life balance while improving workplace productivity."

Another study by Corporate Voices for Working Families, revealed that workplace flexibility benefits employers and individual employees in such areas as productivity, customer service, employee work-life effectiveness, stress and well-being.

Eight out of ten employers and employees surveyed also said flexibility is important to recruitment and retention. Additionally, flexible schedules and innovative time-off policies help companies become an “employer of choice” for younger workers, according to the study.

Whether you think it needs an official holiday or not, workplace flexibility is quickly growing as a popular benefit that many job hunters in today’s labor market are looking for. But with the recession thinning out offices and putting more work on a smaller group of employees, some are finding it harder than ever to take that much-needed break.

Maybe a holiday like “Leave the Office Earlier” day is exactly what we need. What do you think?

Will you be participating in “Leave the Office Earlier” day? Do you think we should recognize the day each year? Or do you think we should stop watching the clock and get back to work?

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