August 24, 2017 | Sabrina Clay, CCWP
Paid time off is difficult for both the employer and the employee. Studies show that people just aren't taking time off. And time off is good for the soul and your company.
According to a U.S. Travel Association report, 658 million vacation days went unused by American workers last year. With reasons varying from fear of returning to a mountain of work and feeling no one else can do their job, a shocking 22 percent said they wanted to show a complete dedication to their job. But at what cost?
You want to provide work-life balance for your employees (and quite frankly yourself), but what is the best approach? When determining the best time off policy, it's important to consider your culture. While difficult to recognize, ask yourself if your culture creates an unspoken stigma around taking time off. Do managers hesitate to promote time off because it will over burden them? Your managers may be subtly discouraging employees from taking time off and not realize it.
Perhaps you turn the tables to promote and anticipate vacations.
Another critical component to time off policies is your messaging. We know there must be rules, but how are they communicated? Do they come across as strict and cold? Vacation is fun, so make your rules around vacation fun as well. For example, We’re going to miss you while you're out, but we want to know when to start missing you! Please let us know (insert timeframe) prior to taking your getaway. While this may sound silly, it helps to ease any tension that may exist.
It may be helpful to get feedback from your employees. Surveys tend to be impersonal, but focus groups can provide some truthful information on how your employees view vacations and the company's PTO plan. Remember, the most generous vacation packages are meaningless if the culture does not support taking time off.