What is ‘leavism’ and does it impact my employees?

A quick summary:

  • Leavism meaning 🔎
  • The social and emotional impact of leavism ❌
  • The consequence on productivity and performance 📊
  • How leavism effects brand reputation and company culture 📉
  • Our final thoughts on leavism 💬

We’ve heard of absenteeism and presenteeism, and we’ve even covered pleasanteeism. Now, it’s time to discuss the new term on the block, ‘leavism’.

As the workplace evolves, new terms are founded to describe ways of working… who knew WFH would be an abbreviation most of us were familiar with in 2022? 

Unfortunately, the latest addition highlights a growing epidemic in a post-pandemic world – overworking or commonly known as burnout.

Before we tackle problems, we must first understand them. That’s why we’re diving head first into everything from the leavism meaning to the consequences it can have on your business. 

A female employee sat at her desk in an office
What is the leavism meaning leaders need to know

Leavism meaning

First and foremost, what is leavism? Without a place in the dictionary, let us deliver our best interpretation of what it means. 

Leavism is described as employees who take time away from work – typically in the form of annual leave – yet use their free time to focus on work projects and tasks. 

Need we say anything else for you to realise just how damaging that can be? The majority of employees who take time off just to focus on their work do so to avoid interruptions or requests from colleagues. As though they are able to get more done in less time. 

Unfortunately, workloads aren’t designed to end, and as most of us have found out in our careers, the work just keeps on coming. Now, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, so long as it provides us with meaningful and fulfilling work — and we aren't constantly under pressure.

So, the problem isn’t efficiency, but the damage done to things like employee health and wellbeing, productivity and performance. Things we’ll take a look at in much detail now. 

When work takes over, life is put on hold ✋

Quite possibly the most obvious consequence of leavism is the social, emotional and wellbeing implications it has on our lives. 

When we’re so committed to one problem (a work project for example), we fail to acknowledge everything else crumbling around us. 

Our social relationships rely on appearances and communication. Without this, they gradually fade. It’s not long then before we’re left with fewer friends and more work commitments. 

It’s not just friends, this can also be said for our families or spouse. An absence due to work can see fewer invitations to family events, and a lack of connection from a spouse. Overall, overworking can be damaging to our social lives.

Emotionally, we can become so alone, isolated and stressed that just isn’t sustainable. The stress is carried around like a burden, and we all know that under poor mental health we’re unable to perform at our best. 

Eventually, leavism creates a vicious circle of becoming prone to stress that we bring back into the workplace and fail to perform, which means we take our work back home to catch up, and land right where we began.

Two empty desks with three Apple computers
Why we can't work 100% all day, everyday

We can’t work at our best at every waking hour 📊

It isn’t just our social wellbeing that leavism can impact. By overworking we are making it much harder to focus and perform during working hours. This is the case whether it’s through annual leave or in the evenings after clocking out of the office.

In the beginning, it may seem manageable. But as we work more and more hours our emotional wellbeing takes a hit and we find ourselves struggling to function. 

Like most employees, there’s a set amount of annual leave each year. Using this allowance just to work from home means we’re losing out on quality time with friends and family. 

Once it’s up, we can only reflect on all the work we’ve done whilst off work – which just isn’t a healthy way to work or live.

Ultimately, we must take time away to rejuvenate and step back from commitments and projects. Doing this means we can come back to problems and obstacles with a fresh headspace. Leavism doesn’t help us tackle problems, and could create more issues once we return to work.

An ultra-modern office environment with glass walls
How leavism impacts reputation and culture

Leavism may harm the brand reputation and company culture

Moving on, let’s discuss how leavism can hinder reputation and culture. Firstly, if employees are aware of other employees using annual leave to work, it may be perceived as toxic management.

Most people do not feel as though their annual leave requires them to work. It’s important leaders lead by example and speak with employees who feel the need to work during annual leave. 

To ignore or praise employees that have done so sends a bad message to the rest o your workforce. Leavism isn’t something to reward, and it can impact brand reputation. 

Closely followed is company culture. If employees begin to feel as though they just can’t get ahead, opting to work their weekends and holidays, it’s a sign that change is needed.

Company culture is the driving force behind engagement, job satisfaction and many other critical attributes of a successful organisation. If employers want to create a great work environment, they must focus on their culture and quash overworking and burnout in employees.

An empty tech style office with desks and chairs
Heka's final thoughts on leavism in the workplace

Final thoughts on Leavism

There you have it, our take on leavism and the consequences it can have on your workforce. These three points should get you thinking about the way employees use annual leave and how to promote healthier, happier breaks from work responsibilities. 

It isn’t just personal wellbeing that is affected by leavism, but also performance, productivity and even reputation and culture. For an issue that can spin up so many problems, leaders must grasp leavism and learn how to combat it.

Want to gift your employees 1000s of wellbeing experiences every month? Help them stand back from work commitments at the end of the day and focus on yoga classes, fitness or mindfulness? Then choose Heka! We’re an employee wellbeing platform making a difference in the workplace. Book a demo with one of our wellbeing experts today!