Inside Rensselaer
Volume 7, No. 16, October 25, 2013
   
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Curtis Powell

Curtis Powell
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A Word From Human Resources 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 Troy and Hartford campuses will be closed for the fourth annual winter break holiday, beginning on Saturday, Dec. 21. Both campuses will be closed for 12 consecutive days, and will re-open on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014.

Overall, the majority of feedback has been very positive as the annual closing has allowed our staff to spend time with family, socialize with friends, take an extended vacation, or just rest and relax.

Some years ago, the American Psychosomatic Society, which studies the connection between stress and physical well-being, shared some interesting research results. The organization noted that individuals who took annual vacations were less likely to get sick, and some were able to cut their heart attack risk in half, compared to individuals who did not take any time off.

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.

Last December, the Right Management Consultants polled U.S. workers to see how they had used their vacation time during the year. Fifty percent said they had not. When the Right Management Consultants repeated the study again this year, 70 percent said they had not used all of their vacation time.

Research shows that taking vacations can improve your creativity, stave off burnout, can keep you healthy, and will improve your overall well-being. With these benefits, I am pleased that Rensselaer instituted the winter and holiday break closing.

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. 

Curtis Powell, SPHR
Vice President for Human Resources

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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 7, Number 16, October 25, 2013
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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