R&R: Rest & Relaxation
In many parts of the world, workers work in order to live, to survive.
They know nothing about our penchant for living to work over here, putting in 50, 60, 70, 80 hours or more!
If you have traveled the world, have you ever wondered how on earth it is possible for entire European towns to just shutter down all business for a couple of hours every day in the name of siesta?
Or have you thought about this: how do some countries have no choice but to go along with the established tradition (law, really) of allowing workers to leave for warmer climates for an entire month known as a holiday, les vacances, lest those workers flood the streets in violent protests in a hot second?
Our national culture's answer to this old European work-life balance solution has been by way of napping capsules and pods - quite spotty at best, at this time.
We can count on one hand all the high tech companies that have rolled out this amenity to their workers at large.
At a clinic where I once worked, our "napping pod" was a rinky-dink pleather couch in the staff kitchen. You could pass out on it for a bit at lunch at your own risk - there was no noise insulation or lights out. (Hey, we do what we can, ok?)
Most clients I have worked with spend way more than 40 hours a week at work - without the benefit of any napping perks.
In 2022, we are seeing millions and millions of exhausted, burnt-out, stressed out beyond belief, "quit-and-stay", "on-autopilot" workers.
The "Great Resignation" of our time is broader than national boundaries. We're seeing this phenomenon across the world: even as our identity is tied in with a back-breaking work ethic, in a Covid-shaped aftermath, workers are literally lying down and refusing to get up to get back to work, taking selfies while "doing nothing", with many adoring and knowing "Likes" instantly posted next to them on social media.
True to the old adage, one cannot "beat a dead horse" (or a near-dead-from-adrenal-fatigue "horse").
Our Covid-19 work-from-home protocols have prevented the spread of Covid-19, saved some of us a chunk of change on gas, spared the frayed nerves from exposure to unnecessary traffic jams, yet overall diminished work-life balance, it turns out.
How do we draw for our bosses a thick line in the proverbial sand to protect our "work selves" and "personal selves"?
We're terribly short-staffed across industries, doing more with less. Just check out the supply chain disruption of cargo vessels to believe!
Further, we're more isolated, living in echo chambers where our negative thoughts build on themselves.
For all the wonderful perks our HR departments roll out, they always seem to play catch-up on the exhausted workforce's ever-growing needs for basic R&R, for quality sleep, rewarding and civil work relationships, meaningful goals, and exciting plans for the future.
What kind of R&R is truly restorative in nature? The kind that allows us to truly mentally "vacate" during a vacation (aka a holiday), not tethered to any electronic device that requires daily monitoring and back-and-forth typing.
As a futurist, I envision a gradual evolution in perks, employer-sponsored benefits, and work practices that will be more R&R-congruent. There are many resources that are not renewable - human capital being the most obvious one. We are the number one asset of our companies. We have a right to expect more and receive more! R&R is at the top of my list.
Do you work at an R&R-conducive place? Feel free to reach out and comment!
Back when I studied HR at UCLA Extension, one of the cheapest books I bought for school was one that had been published with countless editions and cost literally a couple of bucks. On page one it featured a formula to demonstrate to HR staff and the higher-ups how having to replace and train a new worker costs literally a prohibitive amount of money to the employer, measured in whatever local currency or "widgets" produced. Let's give our workers R&R not to lose them to crazy turnover!
No one is replaceable. Everyone is unique. Everyone is an asset to the employer. Everyone deserves R&R, care, respect, concern, good benefits, a regular "Thank you!" from the boss (not just a paycheck) -- which is way more than a perfunctory check-in on whether you still have a pulse at your desk.
So, where are you off to for your next installment of R&R? The local beach, the mountains, the lake? How about a forest picnic? Are you off to watch some playful squirrels at your local park? Are you planning a hang-out with your group of friends or a Meetup? Whether an hour or a month, we need you to relish your R&R - for your wellness and a long, joyful, harmonious, tranquil life that will span many decades to come.