As summer winds down, reflect on the relaxing (or energizing), fun time you’ve spent with family and friends. Now, consider some ways that you can keep that summer-time feeling going well after the last tiki torch burns out. Time off is something we don’t value nearly enough. Taking time to recharge and return with a fresh perspective is something everyone needs to do.
Neuroscience research continues to reveal the importance having unscheduled time or time to just break the routine. Taking mental breaks are as important as taking physical ones. What’s all this got to do with business? A lot. That is, if you care about your own and your team’s productivity, attention span, social skills, memories, and creativity.
Small Talk Builds Communication Skills
Putting the smart phones down and looking eye to eye with your neighbors, colleagues, and peers is something we all should do more of. Encouraging your team to take breaks and head to a ball game now and then doesn’t have to end when Labor Day hits. You don’t need to push them out the door but just make sure they understand that you don’t begrudge them for being out of the office. It’s as simple as projecting an interest in their lives.
Public speaking and even speaking up in meetings isn’t a natural trait everyone has. As leaders, we’re used to working through difficult issues and talking things out with our peers but those skills take varying times for people to develop. Start a weekly meeting out with a remember-the-summer fast round of ‘Would You Rather…?’. It will help draw the more soft-spoken people out and help them relax. You’ll get to know each other better and it’s quite likely that participating in the conversation will continue as you transition into your meeting agenda.
The Virtue of Time Off
A recent Glassdoor study showed that 54% of U.S. employees don’t take all the time off they’re eligible for. That’s a shame. Hard work, good work is great, but there are a lot of reasons that accounting staff, as well as everyone else, should be taking any vacation time they’ve earned.
In the Accounting world, we know it’s always prudent to make sure that people are taking the vacation time they’ve earned. It’s okay to accrue some time, but you need to make sure that everyone steps out for a break and that someone else looks at where things are at when the other employee is on leave. It’s good for both the employees and the company.
- Cross-training – Staff develop new skills, an appreciation for the other’s challenges, and you’ve got a jump on transitioning in a successor when it’s needed.
- Document the workflow or update your SOX documents if it hasn’t been done recently.
- Fresh eyes, fresh perspective – A temp or another employee may see ways to streamline procedures or look into automating some of the work.
- Switching things up helps people question the norm. Encourage open discussions so that everyone is on the same page about why things are done the way they are.
- Avoiding taking days off can be a red flag for fraud. Picking up on a lapping scheme is easiest when a gap interrupts a fraudster’s plan.
- Finding invoices stuffed in a drawer isn’t pleasant but it’s better to find them than not.
- Discovering a bottleneck may be frustrating but it’s the only way to move on to identifying a lasting solution.
Don’t let leaving the summer behind change your outlook and pin you into a rigid work environment. Keep looking for how you can inject some fun and life into your workplace.
What can you do to encourage the professional development of each persons’ speaking skills?
Businesses of every description rely on the Budget Maestro™ family of software solutions by Centage Corporation to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their business budgeting and planning, financial forecasting, financial consolidation and reporting processes. For more information, take a tour of Budget Maestro, contact Centage, or call 800-366-5111 now.