Does your workplace culture encourage employees to take vacation time? Despite the benefits of taking time to recharge, more than 50% of American workers leave some of their vacation days on the table. There are a variety of reasons employees might not take all their time off. They might fear that they look replaceable, aren't able to keep up on their workload or lack coverage to make time off feasible. Making sure your employees take time off is not only good for their health, it’s good for your business. Workers who take vacation are more productive and engaged. They also tend to have less stress, better cardiovascular health and improved sleep. Here’s how you can encourage your employees to take their vacation time this year, even if it’s only a staycation:
- Set an example. Vacations are necessary to help you re-charge and be your best in the office. If it has been awhile since you took a vacation, start planning your time off. Let your team know you'll be taking time off and who they should go to with questions while you’re away. If possible, do not reach out via email or calls while you’re on vacation or your team will mimic that behavior when they’re off.
- Make time off a positive thing. Regularly communicate the importance of time off to your team. Ask them when their next time off is coming and what they are planning. Discourage “vacation shaming” even if it’s in a joking manner. Have a plan in place to cover for people on vacation and to ease them back into the workplace when they return so no one feels guilty leaving the office to take a break.
- Determine what’s critical. Work toward cross-training other employees to take on critical tasks that need to be completed while employees are out and work with team members to identify what’s truly critical and what can wait a week. This will help to lessen any guilt or worry your employees have about taking time off.
- Change your policies. Companies who offer a payout for unused vacation time might be unintentionally encouraging workers to come to work every day so they can get the cash. Simple fixes can be instituted to make employees prioritize time off. Switching to “use it or lose it” time off policies or setting a minimum number of mandatory days off per year could help. Even changing how you talk about time off could help – instead of sick days or vacation days, changing your language to “personal time” might help more people feel empowered to take a day when they need it.
Learn more about encouraging your employees to take time off by checking out this Blue Cross® Virtual Well-Being webinar. You’ll also find related resources you can use to help your employees embrace vacation. Employers and Blue Cross members can sign up for future webinars here and check out past sessions and resources. Related:
- Blue Cross Offers Employers Mental Health Support
- Supporting Staff Who Work Remotely
- Work-Life Integration vs. Work-Life Balance
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