Why It's Important to Encourage Employee Vacations This Holiday Season

December marks the end of a long year full of pressures and stresses for the workforce. As companies throughout the country have worked diligently to overcome the challenges of a struggling economy, their employees have faced more risk than ever of burning out. In giving thought to strategies for maintaining or boosting productivity, employers should focus on one strategy that is perfect for this time of year. In particular, as the year draws to a close, it's important to encourage vacation time this holiday season.

It's clear employee breaks from work are critical to the health of any organization. A team that is worked too hard without coming up for air risks the chance of becoming disengaged or aggrieved. By supporting employee breaks, employers can harness a powerful mechanism for boosting overall annual productivity.

The holiday season is a perfect opportunity for organizations to take that necessary pause. The end of the year provides a formal, structured break to the year, providing a natural opportunity to rest. There are also plenty of entertaining distractions to fill the void left by the absence of work, including food, family, shopping, football, etc.

Moreover, the holiday season provides a great opportunity to boost morale and recharge the mental batteries by acknowledging and celebrating the fruits of the team's labor. Delegate an employee to plan a holiday party, give awards, recognize high achievers, and congratulate the team on everything that went well over the course of the year. Virtually nothing provides as much motivation as identifying your success, and taking time to enjoy it.

Finding an opportunity to rest and celebrate may be the best business decision you will make in 2013. Do not feel guilty for halting work to enjoy the holiday season; revel in it, have an extra cup of nog, and spend a few days having fun doing something other than your job. If you follow these suggestions, you will give yourself a head start on a great 2014.