Are Your Employees Taking Vacations? They Should

Are Your Employees Taking Vacations? They Should

By MarkD

“In this game, everyone needs a break to refuel, recharge, and jump back in full throttle.” – Helen Edwards, author of Nothing Sexier Than Freedom

Are your employees taking vacations?  If you want them happy, rested, productive, you should want them to.  Summer is right around the corner.  We’ve talked about the importance of taking time off from work before in other blogs.  It’s time to talk about it again.  In this blog, we’re going to cover three things:

  • Why your employees should take vacations (and why you should as well).
  • Reasons why your employees don’t take vacations.
  • Ways you can encourage and support your employees to take them.

 So let’s dive right in.  Some of this information will be new, and possibly shocking.  Some might be things you’ve heard before.  Regardless, it’s a good reminder, at the beginning of summer, that vacations are important.  They should be a regular and encouraged part of your business practice.  For your employees and for you.  Are you taking your vacations?  Are your employees taking vacations?  They should.

Why Employees Should Take Vacations

We addressed this in a previous blog entitled Your Employees Should Take Their Vacations. In it, we revealed that taking a vacation can increase performance by up to 80%.  When your employees return refreshed & rejuvenated, they’ll be well-equipped to handle any catch-up work.  Employees who take time off are not only focused and energetic, but when a hiccup happens, they’re not as easily frustrated or moody.  It’s a worthwhile investment for your employees & your company.

There are more benefits to you and your employees as well.  People who take vacation days tend to be healthier.  And healthier people take fewer sick days. Unused paid vacation days are actually a liability on the books for companies.  Taking vacation days stimulates innovation.   And it’s more important than ever.  Research shows that in 2020, 92% of employees canceled, postponed, or didn’t plan a vacation due to the pandemic.

There’s a perception that if you’re the first one in, last one out, always working overtime, that you’re the first one considered for raises and promotions.  Why would you be if you’re always in a bad mood, complaining, and not as productive as your counterparts?  As a supervisor or manager, would you rather have the work done faster, better, and by a happier employee?  Of course you would.  And studies show that employees who forfeit vacation days are LESS likely to get raises or promotions. 

Reasons Why Your Employees Don’t Take Vacations

After that first section, it seems like a no-brainer.  Take vacations.  And yet, millions of Americans leave an obscene amount of unused vacation time behind every year.  Why?  In that same blog we wrote last year, we addressed those concerns.  Employees surveyed by GfK gave the following top five reasons for leaving vacation time unused:

  1. Fear of returning to a mountain of work (40%)
  2. The belief that nobody else can do the job (35%)
  3. Inability to afford taking time off (33%)
  4. Fear of being seen as replaceable (22%)
  5. To show greater dedication to the company and the job (28%)

Ways You Can Encourage Employees To Take Them

  1. There should be a system in place at your business so projects don’t come to a halt because a person takes time off.  You should have readily available SOPs in place for company procedures.  Team members should be able to step in.  Workloads can be planned in advance to accommodate time off.  This should never be a deterrent for you or your staff for taking vacations.
  2. Can any of your subordinates fill in when you’re not there?  How will they ever get promoted?  Do supervisors, managers, or you know how to do the day-to-day tasks of your employees?  Regularly being aware of what your staff is doing and how they do it will help avoid the idea that no one can do anyone else’s job.
  3. I’m not suggesting you do it, but we found something interesting in our blog The Case For Unlimited PTO.  Companies like Airbnb, BambooHR, Evernote, and Expedia actually PAY their employees to take a vacation.  BambooHR offers employees $2000 specifically to spend on vacation.  At Evernote, it’s $1000 as a yearly stipend.  And Expedia reimburses up to $750 of travel expenses for their employees.  But you don’t need to spend a fortune to take a vacation.  Just take the time off.  
  4. If your employee thinks taking time off will make them seem replaceable, remember, what matters more: production and results or hours spent in the office?  Of course the first one.  If they’re afraid of being replaced, remind them why they are not.
  5. And we’ve adequately dispelled this myth.  But, in case you need more fuel for the fire, according to Project: Time Off:
  • You are 30% more likely to receive a raise if you take 11 or more PTO days
  • You have a 6.5% greater chance of getting a promotion or a raise over your peers if you take all of your allotted PTO time.

With all this talk of taking time off, you must be reminiscing about the last one you took.  Or maybe you’re realizing just how overdue you are for one yourself.  So take your vacation.  You deserve one just as much as anyone else does.  Just make sure you’re regularly asking yourself: are your employees taking vacations?  They should.

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