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Using bank holidays to boost productivity


With yet another bank holiday happening next week, UK employees are braced for some all-important extra days off. But what does that mean for productivity? For most, a four-day week still means five days’ worth of work. Coupled with the fact that many people take extra time off during public holidays, it can leave employees feeling overwhelmed and over worked.

Chris Ronald, VP EMEA B2B, Incentives, Rewards & Benefits at Blackhawk Network which looks at how employers can take advantage of the extra days off and use bank holidays to boost productivity.


But bank holidays don’t have to cause a productivity slump. In fact, employers can use them to their advantage. While year-round appreciation is important, using a bank holiday or special occasion to make staff feel valued can help to reduce labour turnover and keep momentum high.

This has never been more important. The UK is amid a cost-of-living crisis. High inflation, souring energy costs and rising mortgage rates are causing considerable amount of stress on the UKs workforce. A bank holiday isn’t going to solve these issues but handled correctly, it can help to take some strain off employees – or at the very least make them smile.

Take the opportunity to make staff feel valued

The recent coronation weekend might have given employers ideas for how to show appreciation to staff. From putting on an office banquet that is fit for a King, to sending out a care package to remote employees, employers have an array of options when it comes to making staff feel valued. But in the current climate, companies that go above and beyond for their employees are the ones that will win. One option could be to take advantage of more bespoke benefit packages that employees could use to feel like a king for the day. Offering a once in a lifetime aerobic Top Gun flying adventure for example. These wow-factor rewards will help to boost morale, especially if done as team activity.

It is, however, important to remember that while employees may be blown away by flashy rewards, in order to get the most ROI, it’s important that benefits are tailored. Some employers marked the coronation with an unforgettable activity but do remember that some employees may see more value in something such as a groceries voucher. It might not be super creative, but if it takes pressure off employees, it will go a long way in making them feel listened to and valued.

Give to causes close to employee’s hearts

Nearly 7 in 10 employees believe that societal impact is a strong expectation or deal breaker when considering a job. With such an emphasis on doing good, giving back as employer can help with retaining and attracting employees. And what better excuse than a coronation? The Big Help Out initiative for example is a nationwide tribute to the King’s many decades of public service, with many employers finding creative ways to get involved.

But while the coronation might have been a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many of us, giving doesn’t have to be. Making it a regular activity and aiming to donate or host a charity event in the leadup to other bank holidays, will not only help people that need it most, but it will also create a positive and happy workplace culture.

Let staff have the day off

Many of us are lucky to get bank holidays off work but a large portion of the UK doesn’t have that luxury. Whether they do or not depends on the wording in their employment contract. For example, if the contract says the employee is entitled “to all bank and public holidays”, then the extra day should be granted automatically. If not, then this is entirely down to the employer’s discretion.

Even if it isn’t made explicit in an employee’s contract, shutting down and giving staff a long weekend is a great way to show them you care about their wellbeing. Considering 77% of employees have experienced burnout at least once in their current roles, it gives them an opportunity so switch off, whether that is chilling out or joining in festivities.

Again, this doesn’t have to be a one off. While the business might not allow for every employee to have all bank holidays off, just gifting one a year could help boost morale and happiness in the workplace.

This can be difficult for industries where bank holidays are their busiest periods. Hospitality for example generates huge income during a typical bank holiday. In fact, UK Hospitality, predicted a a £350 million spending boost in pubs, hotels and restaurants during the coronation weekend.

It’s all about strategy

A bank holiday means something different for each employee. Some may be excited to spend time with the family, others may already be dreading the FOMO from having to work. Employers should keep bank holidays front of mind when it comes to workplace benefits and rewards. Despite the additional day off for many, they do come with challenges. By offering a tailored approach and ensuring rewards line up with employee’s wants and needs, businesses can use bank holidays to their advantage and

The Meetings Industry Association (mia) has made wellbeing a strategic priority for its members.