Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sabbath Days really work

Once upon a time, the Sabbath Day's Rest - one day a week totally free from work - was considered a core American value. It came out of the Judeo-Christian heritage but was observed by pretty much all walks of life. But as the 20th century washed over us, it became harder and harder to take off any time from work. And the 21st century has made it even worse with cell phones and Blackberries that make it virtually impossible to avoid your coworkers when they want to reach you. In some areas of my company, workaholics think nothing of sending an e-mail at 2 AM and castigating a coworker for not responding immediately.

But new studies are indicating that days off are not only a "good thing", but key to productivity. Consulting companies are finding if they enforce "time off" provisions and require workers to be home for dinner, their other work hours are more productive and their stress levels are reduced. Those with poor work habits are exposed, highlighting the need to learn basic time management skills. And, it forces project teams to communicate, because they all know that the "expert" will be unavailable at least one day a week.

This is a lesson that America needs to learn quickly. We've always valued hard work, but in the Recession it is starting to look like we ONLY value hard work. But there are many other things that make life worth living.

No comments: