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The company policy that could help employees beat the summertime blues
Picture this: Youre on vacation with your family and your work colleagues havent emailed, called or texted with questions because theyre on vacation, too. - photo by Shelby Slade
Picture this: Youre on vacation with your family, and your work colleagues havent emailed, called or texted with questions because theyre on vacation, too.

It sounds like a dream, right? And for most U.S. workers it is just that.

However, if you venture into other countries, there is an unwritten rule that most employees schedule their vacations around the same time during a certain month, like December for New Zealand or August for most of Europe. However, Americans tend to vacation over a three-month span from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

This spread-out vacation schedule makes for several unproductive and stressful months while people filter in and out of the office, Hana Schank reported for The Washington Post.

Although we may not have the mandatory vacation laws that allow other countries the luxury of a monthlong work detox, if we could at least all agree to close up shop for a small portion of August, it would mean more efficient work when were in the office, and more relaxing vacations when were out, Schank explained.

One U.S. company that has adopted a set time for employees to take vacation is TED. Executive producer of TED media June Cohen said in a statement that this policy allows everyone to get a break without having to worry about missing things.

Planning a vacation is hard most of us would feel a little guilty to take two weeks off if it werent preplanned for us, and wed be likely to cancel when something inevitably came up, Cohen said. This creates an enforced rest period, which is so important for productivity and happiness.

Summer is difficult for productivity because something about the warm weather makes most want to daydream about the beach or the outdoors at their desks, rather than working.

In most companies, people stagger their vacations through the summer, Cohen said. But this means you can never quite get things done all summer long. You never have all the right people in the room.

Without certain employees around, co-workers may not be able to complete projects or will have to work around a hectic mishmash of vacations, Jacquelyn Smith reported for Forbes.

Its natural for you to be a bit less productive at work in the summer months due to nice weather, vacations, and, if you have a family, the summer activities of your children. Youd generally rather be anywhere than work, author Al Coleman Jr. said in the Forbes article.

While a unified vacation time may be out of the question for most companies, there is a way to beat the summertime slump of productivity.

Smith suggested planning vacation well in advance, letting everyone you work with know when you are on vacation and finding other work to do in the office when key players are absent.

From there its just a short leap, one that involves turning off your phone and signing out of your email, to a work-free vacation.
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