Returning to the office after a long holiday break leaves employees feeling more lethargic than well rested. More than ever, the start of the new year can prove to be a challenging time to help your employees find a work-life balance that incorporates the self-care that they need. If you’re supervising members of the ambitious and always-connected millennial generation, this can be an especially daunting task.

Millennial Values

Research highlights some important information about millennials. They rarely take breaks, they value meaningful work over vacation time, and they’re almost always connected to some type of media platform — switching their attention between devices 27 times an hour on average. They have entrepreneurial aspirations and long for career advancement — as well as the ability to use their mobile devices to work on-the-go as needed.

The combination of all of these factors creates a perfect storm for employee burnout and dissatisfaction. Since 70 percent of millennials have their sights set on finding new jobs as the economy improves, you need to find a way to keep them happy despite whatever looming deadlines the holidays have bestowed upon you. One way to do that is to encourage self-care and helping them unplug is a great way to start.

Unplugged Self-Care

One of the immediate benefits of unplugging is the ability to focus more within — something that many refer to as mindfulness. At first glance, the concept of mindfulness may not seem like a fit for the business environment. However, if your millennials can learn to unplug, slow down, and practice some self-reflection, it will not only help them, but also lead to better productivity in the long run. In fact, research from INSEAD Business School found that doing just 15 minutes of meditation focused on mindfulness can lead to more rational business decisions. 

Achieving better mindfulness can be the catalyst for a plethora of self-care benefits, which can start with the simple act of unplugging from work. Within a list of self-care tips from professional clinicians gathered by SocialWork@Simmons, we’ve identified six themes that align with the benefits that unplugging can provide for your millennial crew:

  1. Better boundaries. If an always-connected lifestyle includes always being connected to work, employees never have a chance to draw a line in the work-life sand. For millennials, this work-life balance is highly valued and unplugging to create better boundaries can help them achieve it.
  2. Increased effectiveness. Millennials like to work hard and play hard. Having the permission to unplug gives them the freedom to pursue the latter so that when they dig into the former they can do it more effectively.
  3. Improved relationships. When millennials take the time to unplug, they’re able to better focus not only on the moment at hand, but on the person in front of them. Device distractions are increasingly notorious for negatively impacting relationships, which are essential for receiving much-needed support from family and friends.  
  4. Better exercise. With the growing array of devices, wearables and apps, “unplugged” exercise is increasingly a thing of the past. However, being unplugged from work duties allows millennials to work off some stress without being interrupted.
  5. Ability to focus on spirituality. Several of the experts listed cited a focus on spiritual practices as important to self-care. Certainly, that’s difficult to do if one is focused on checking the latest project updates at work.
  6. Better rest. The advice for obtaining needed rest ranged from afternoon naps to regular vacations. Regardless of the solution that fits each individual’s needs, the message is clear. Everyone needs to unplug and unwind to give the mind and body a chance to refresh and renew.

The pressured pace of the start of the New Year after the holidays may seem like the least desirable time to start empowering the millennials on your team to take care of themselves. However, this ambitious generation will not only appreciate the fact that you care about their needs, but will also pay you back with a level of productivity that everyone will benefit from.