As the U.S. celebrates Presidents Day today, our neighbors to the north celebrate Family Day in the province of Ontario (and Alberta, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Saskatchewan).
My wife and I first discovered Family Day quite by accident in 2009. With our six-week-old first child in tow we headed up the QEW on Presidents Day to test our resolve for traveling +1.
We were pretty confused heading past entirely, eerily empty parking lots at shopping malls and big box stores along our route to Toronto (see the Retail Business Holiday Act if you’re looking to get real wonky on your day off).
It turns out, Ontario first celebrated family day in 2008 because “Ontarians work very hard and they deserve more time to spend with the people they love,” and “(e)mployees who get time off may work even harder when they are back on the job“.
Though health and wellness programs are increasingly seen as a way to impact company’s bottom line in both reduced health care costs and reduced sick days, these broader reaching holistic quality of life considerations aren’t one we often hear on this side of Lake Ontario.
However, the logic and the research generally bear out the notion that happier, healthier employees with a work/life balance are more productive employees. In fact, an article in Forbes highlighted the notion of a psychologically healthy workplace, acknowledging “Employees become much more motivated and productive when they know that their employer cares about their total quality of life, which goes beyond traditional wellness and includes physical, emotional, financial and social health.”
If employers caring about employee’s quality of life leads to happier, more engaged employees, when people know their governments care about their quality of life does this also lead to happier, more engaged citizens?
Something to ponder, no matter what side of the border you’re on today.