Winter Break and Holiday Closing
As we approach the end of the semester, this is a wonderful time for all of us to look back and reflect on our personal and professional accomplishments. In addition, we all need some time to rest and refocus, in order to maintain a healthy work/life balance, which is often defined as a concept that includes proper prioritizing between “work” (career/ambition) and “lifestyle” (health, pleasure, leisure, family, and spiritual development/meditation).
To support this concept, the Rensselaer and Hartford campuses will be closed for the third annual Winter Break holiday, beginning on Saturday, Dec. 22. The campuses will re-open on Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013.
In 2010, after thorough consideration, the Division of Human Resources launched the Winter Break closing initiative, based on our leave records, which revealed that many staff planned their vacations or took time off between Christmas and New Year’s Day. During this time period, some staff were required to provide limited office coverage, which often prevented them from spending uninterrupted time off with their families and friends during the holiday season.
By implementing the Winter Break closing, all Rensselaer employees now have the opportunity to take a vacation, spend time with family and friends, or just rest and relax.
According to Nancy Lockwood, a human resource content expert, in a recent article titled, Work/Life Balance, Challenges and Solutions that appeared in the Society for Human Resource Management publication, “in a society filled with conflicting responsibilities and commitments, work/life balance has become a predominant issue in the workplace.” Lockwood also says that three major factors that have contributed to the interest in work/life balance include global competition, renewed interest in personal lives/family values, and an aging workforce.
On another note, the number of stress-related disability claims by American employees has doubled, according to the Employee Assistance Professionals Association. Today, 75 to 90 percent of physician visits are related to stress, costing the industry an estimated $200 billion to $300 billion a year, according to the American Institute of Stress. Additional surveys indicate that those in high-stress jobs are three times more likely than others to suffer from stress-related medical conditions and are twice as likely to resign from their respective positions with an organization.
Today, human resource professionals are working to seek options to positively impact the bottom line of their companies by implementing programs to improve employee morale and productivity, and to retain the most productive workers.
Moving forward, the ongoing review of research and survey results and our own experiences at Rensselaer demonstrate that a productive workforce is one where an organization promotes a work environment that is family-friendly and free from extreme stress.
On behalf of our Board of Trustees, President Jackson, and the Division of Human Resources, we extend to you and your family best wishes and hope that you have a joyous, restful, and happy holiday season!
Curtis Powell, SPHR
Vice President for Human Resources