Lisa Bonner | ,| By
Studies show that almost 75% of employees do not take all of their allotted paid time off (PTO.) Due to the sluggish economy, employees hesitate to take time off, and/or do not disconnect 100% while on vacation, often checking in once a day or scanning emails. Failing to take vacation days can result in higher levels of stress and greater levels of disengagement at work.
Forbes notes that vacations promote creative thinking and sharpens cognition. Studies show that taking time off helps you sustain high levels of productivity. In todays fast pace environment, it’s important to take time to relax, recharge and enjoy life.
With the summer season fast approaching, now is the time to discuss current and pending projects with your team and decide how best to manage the workload so that you’re all able to enjoy some time off.
Tips for Taking Time Off
Arrange for Coverage
It’s critical that business needs are met and the work doesn’t pile up when one person is off. Employees will feel more comfortable scheduling PTO if they know that their teammates are properly trained and there’s a plan to handle workload while they’re away.
Often times employees are worried about how they’ll be perceived by peers or management and that taking time off might signal a lack of commitment. Also, employees fear that “out of sight, out of mind” and taking PTO might result in a missed opportunity. Managers need to make it a “safe” for employees to take time off without feeling guilty when they check out.
The reverse can also be true, some employees perceive themselves as “too valuable” to take time off and the office will be “unable to function” without their presence. Managers need to step in and quell their fears too.
Model the Right Behavior
Leaders should talk about their vacation plans and how they manage to get away. An executive colleague used his blog to talk about his vacation and received more than 130 comments from employees, kicking off an active discussion of work-life integration at the company.
My boys and I visited my brother & family in Huntington Beach, CA last week. My sister-in-law graciously chauffeured us to the beach, a roller coaster park and countless area attractions. Being by the ocean feeds my soul and three days off felt like a full week. Spending time with my teenage boys, swapping stories with my brother, watching my nephew play lacrosse = memories of a priceless vacation.
Take the Vacation, Already!
Fostering a culture where employees feel comfortable taking time off is imperative. What do you do to help your employees take full advantage of their vacation time? What plans do you have for vacation? I look forward to your comments…