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Helping your Employees Manage their Most Sacred Commodity: Time

Vacation Fund | Erica Pearson | June 10, 2019

happy employee - Helping your Employees Manage their Most Sacred Commodity:  TimeOver the last 10 years, we’ve been blessed in business with a bull market; a bull market that’s supported a wave of innovation and taking chances. But with that bull market has come new standards and competition. Constant growth has become an expectation, which has companies of all sizes asking, “how do we fuel our growth faster than everyone else?”


And, for the businesses that we speak with at Vacation Fund, pouring fuel on the growth fire always seems to lead to the conclusion that they need:

  1. More money
  2. To hire more of the best people
  3. And have them produce the best results
  4. In the shortest amount of time

Unfortunately for many businesses, more money is not always immediately attainable. So, what can businesses do to ensure that they’re still able to hire the best people, and enable them to be as creative, innovative, and productive as possible while keeping them happy at the company for as long as possible? What can businesses do to get more out of their most valuable assets (their people)?

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These are the questions that have business leaders coming back to very basic fundamentals - how do we give our people exactly what they need to survive and thrive? The better job your company does at helping employees to survive and thrive, the better off the company will be.


Helping employees survive.

Reasonable compensation is a very basic necessity for employee “survival”. No matter what stage the company is at or how exciting the mission is, no level of passion in the world will support a lengthy employee tenure if they’re struggling to pay the bills or support their dependents. They’re only human, after all. Are there exceptions to this rule? Of course. But are you willing to take the chance, and risk losing a hard worker because you were trying to save the company the same amount of money that you would end up spending as a result of turnover?

Helping employees thrive.

Now, let’s get into what’s necessary beyond the basic compensation. Especially in a tight labour market, offering just the basics simply is not enough. Another company will happily come along and make an offer to attract the talent that you’ve been training and grooming for success. Helping someone to thrive requires an understanding of what their priorities are. For some, career growth and continuous learning is all the employee will need to feel fulfilled long-term. For others, time with family or the ability to see other parts of the world are ingrained in their DNA. Without the ability to spend time with loved ones or explore new places, the employee’s spirit may slowly fade away until quitting day. You may not even see it coming until it’s too late.



Helping employees manage their most sacred commodity: Time.

Time is a limited resource that it’s impossible to buy more of. Companies want more time to make progress and hit targets, while employees want more time for work AND for their priorities outside of work. And when it comes to companies and results, we’ve entered the era where we need people to work smarter, not harder. Gone are the days where people are standing at a machine producing widgets. When people are at work today, they need to use their minds for creativity, focus, and innovation. So how do you optimize for productivity in the office?

A recent Gallup poll in the US revealed that 20% of full-time employees work more than 60 hours a week, and nearly half of US workers regularly work at least 50 hours per week but research shows that productivity falls sharply after 50 hours, and drops off a cliff after 55 hours per week. Additionally, not taking at least one full day off per week leads to lower hourly output overall.

From a mental health and mindset perspective, working fewer than 50 hours is highly recommended. The media continues to glorify an endless hustle, while stress and burnout are at alarming levels. We know that working 50+ hours isn’t beneficial for the employee OR the company, but when we are bombarded with media that tells us to work harder, how is anyone supposed to feel content dedicating evenings and weekends to anything that isn’t considered “productive”?


It’s time for a shift.

A shift that helps people be as productive as humanly possible when they’re at the office while spending as many hours as possible away from the office. But no one will be able to pull this shift off if reducing work hours doesn’t take place across the board. If you have a few employees willing to work 55-80 hours a week, while others are working closer to 40, you are setting the company up for failure. The emotions associated with hours worked cannot be ignored. The people at your company working the fewest number of hours either don’t care about the company objectives, or they feel guilty for not “pulling their weight” in comparison to others. And the people working 50-80 hours a week often become resentful of those working fewer hours, or they expect to be compensated far more highly to make the extra hours and effort worth it.

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Time and money are always limited in business, and a culture where employees feel that 55-80 hours of work a week is consistently acceptable or appreciated is unhealthy and simply kicking the problems can down the road.

It’s time to clarify your company messaging and expectations around how employees should allocate their time, keeping in mind business objectives, productivity statistics, and the importance for employees to feel like they’re surviving and thriving while they work and help you build an incredible company.


erica.pearson - Helping your Employees Manage their Most Sacred Commodity:  Time

Erica Pearson, Co-Founder and CEO, Vacation Fund

Having travelled to over 40 countries by the time she turned 22, Erica left the Capital Markets space in early 2017 to help people live their lives to the fullest.

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