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Why Americans are taking less and less time off

(BUSINESS NEWS) Why are Americans afraid to take time off? Employers aren’t getting it right and a shift has taken place…

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Vacations becoming less common

I have no doubt that most US employees would love to take a vacation. That they don’t seems to reflect less on where the employee works and more on how said employee feels they fit in to that work place and what is at stake if they take a break.

Employees are feeling afraid

According to Indeed, a lot of vacation reticence may be the result of self-created fears that taking vacation will be detrimental to an employee’s career.

Notes the report, “They may be worried that if not there the boss, or colleagues, will suddenly start thinking they are not needed. Or, if aiming for a promotion or some kind or raise, which many good workers often are, that taking a vacation will put them back in their goals.”

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If you were to have asked me, I’d have said that is entirely the reason. But recent Indeed studies tell a different story.

Employers aren’t “getting it right”

Fully 57% of respondents reported some degree of difficulty taking vacation due to work culture. Indeed points out that it may be due to this same self-inflicted perception pointed out earlier, but it does indicate that “some offices in the U.S. are not getting it right when it comes to time off.”

If employees don’t feel their workplaces encourage vacation, managers and HR leaders should take heed of the problem. That is the theory anyway. That in itself is not an easy thing to do because of fear of word getting back to the boss.

Other reasons besides fear

Other reasons vary. Maybe you can’t take time off because your significant other is tied up. Or maybe you already took time off and don’t have any more days accrued. Or maybe you are going to take a vacation but it hasn’t been scheduled yet, or the time period hasn’t arrived.

The Boston Globe gives a more prosaic excuse for vacation-phobia: a pile up of too much work, followed by they fear no one else can do their job, taking time off could get in the way of a promotion, and an employee wanting to show dedication to their company.

The all-work-no-play mentality may help with appearances in the office, but it’s not helping much else.

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The benefits of rest & relaxation

The more vacation you take, the less stressed you’ll feel. It may sound like common sense, but a report from the Families and Work Institute showed lower stress levels in individuals who took more than six consecutive days of vacation, and stress levels dipped even further among those who took 13 consecutive days.

Add to that fewer signs of depression, better family relationships, and overall better health and self-esteem, and you should be asking yourself why aren’t you booking a cruise instead of working late or over the weekend?

#LessVacay

Business News

After losing 13 employees to drugs, this restaurant hires recovering addicts

(BUSINESS) After losing 13 people to addiction-related deaths, DV8 Kitchen is a restaurant and bakery staffed 100% by recovering substance users.

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Woman viewing DV8 landing page on laptop discussing their employment opportunity's for recovering addicts.

The United States has been fighting a drug epidemic for decades. According to the CDC, the number of drug overdoses has significantly increased since 1999. From 2018 to 2019, even though heroin-involved death rates decreased by 6%, opioid-involved deaths increased by 6%, and synthetic opioid-involved deaths increased by 15%. Although the government keeps throwing money toward drug addiction and recovery, the problem doesn’t seem to be going away. After losing 13 people to addiction-related deaths, a Lexington, Kentucky restaurant decided to focus on giving employees a second chance. DV8 Kitchen is a restaurant and bakery staffed 100% by recovering substance users.

Second chance employment

According to its website, “DV8 Kitchen was developed and operates as a second chance employment opportunity for people who are trying to redirect their lives.  People in the early stages of substance abuse recovery often find it difficult to find employers willing to take a chance on them.” It’s working. The company opened a second location to give more people a chance to thrive. Other restaurants and employers can learn from them through training and modeling. DV8 Kitchen isn’t just changing recovering substance users, but they’re changing the restaurant industry by teaching those working in it how to combat addiction.

How big is the problem?

A recent report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reveals that 20.4 million people aged 12 and older experienced substance use disorders in 2019. Another 2.1 million people in the U.S. suffered from an opioid use disorder related to prescription opioids. Employment is an important part of recovery. Studies show that individuals who are employed are less likely to have parole violations and criminal activity. There are higher rates of abstinence from substance abuse when a person is employed. Recovering addicts often face many hurdles in finding employment, from criminal history to scheduling conflicts with treatment, and poor work history. Being employed significantly contributes to a positive quality of life and helps individuals transition from addiction treatment back into the community.

Help those in recovery

Rob Perez, one of the founders of DV8 Kitchen, a 501c3 organization, says, “if every American business decides to hire one person that only wanted a job, but really needed it, we could make a massive difference in this country.”

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Business News

$100m reimagined convenience store startup to open 25 stores in 2022

(BUSINESS) Foxtrot is looking to redefine the convenience store as we know it. This startup is looking to make it a whole new experience.

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Laptop with Foxtrot convenience store locations in Chicago.

Move over 7-11, there’s a new player in town! There’s always room for competition, even in the world of convenience stores. Yes, you read that right, Quick Trip has some serious competition from a newcomer, Foxtrot.

Foxtrot is a curated, modern convenience store offering a brisk 30-minute delivery and 5-minute pick-up. It was created by Mike LaVitola and Taylor Bloom in 2014. These stores will undoubtedly be popular in walkable areas, but also with their online ordering convenience. This modern version of a convenience store offers the combination of an upscale corner store with a digital-first e-commerce platform. Sounds pretty glorious, right?

However, the original convenience store is safe as long as people are traveling and need to stop for gas or a restroom break.  If you’re from Texas, then you know and love, Buc-ee’s, the Texas-born chain. Buc-ee’s have been creating their own in-store products garnering a cult following among their customers. Still, Buc-ee’s doesn’t have an online ordering or delivery option unless it’s offered through a third party.

Foxtrot has raised $160 million in Series C funding and they are expecting to open 25 locations in many cities in 2022. There are a few different levels of funding. If a company makes it to Series C funding, they are already successful and looking to expand or develop new products per Investopedia.

According to Retail Dive, “About half of the new stores will be in Chicago, Dallas and Washington, where all of the 16 stores Foxtrot currently operates are located, LaVitola said. The tech-focused retailer is also planning to begin operations in Boston and Austin, and intends to open four or five new stores in each of those cities during the next year and a half, he said.”

Foxtrot is testing out technology equipment that would allow customers to leave the store without stopping to checkout at the counter. They plan isn’t to go entirely self-service, but as the creator LaVitola stated, “the more hours we can allocate towards sampling and storytelling and interacting with customers and less [on] tasks that don’t add on to value, like checkout, that’s great.”

Foxtrot is redefining convenience by including carefully curated products. They aim to offer local popular products as well core pantry items. They aim to make the commonly unpleasant experience of convenience stores enjoyable. Let’s hope they succeed.

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Business News

What small business owners can learn from Starbucks’ new D&I strategy

(BUSINESS) Diversity and inclusion have been at the forefront of Starbucks’ mission, but now they’re shifting strategy. What can we learn from it?

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Hands of all different skin colors on green background representing Starbucks' D&I.

Starbucks was one of many companies that promised to focus on diversity and inclusion efforts after the death of George Floyd by Minneapolis police in 2020. What sets Starbucks apart from other companies were its specific goals.

How It Started

They began with hiring targets and have now added goals in corporate and manufacturing roles. Starbucks’ plans and goals revolve around transparency for accountability. They released the annual numbers for 2021 as a way to help hold themselves accountable. The data they’ve released so far show that they’ve met nearly a third of their 2025 goals according to Retail Brew. Because of this information, we can see why they are choosing to move in the direction of manufacturing and corporate jobs. In 2021, POC’s fell to 12.5% of director-level employees from 14.3% in 2020 in manufacturing.

How It’s Going

Per Starbucks’ website stories and news, “[I]t will increase its annual spend with diverse suppliers to $1.5 billion by 2030.  As part of this commitment, Starbucks will partner with other organizations to develop and grow supplier diversity excellence globally.” To put that into perspective, they spent nearly $800 million with diverse suppliers in 2021. With these moves, by 2030, it will increase by almost double.

As part of their accountability and progress, they plan to partner up with Arizona State University to give out free toolkits to entrepreneurs on fundamentals for running successful diverse-owned businesses. Another goal they’ve listed is to boost paid media representation by allocating 15 percent of the advertising budget to minority-owned and targeted media companies to reach diverse audiences.

At the heart of all this information on their goals and future plans, data transparency and accountability are what’s forcing them to look at the numbers to make specific goals. They are doing more than just throwing money at the problem, they are analyzing how they can do better and where the money will make a difference. Something that, as entrepreneurs, we should all do.

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