May 29, 2014
While we’ve just celebrated the first official summer holiday weekend, studies show that almost 75 percent of employees do not take all of their allotted vacation time. In fact, many employees hesitate to take a break from work, and those that do often check in at least daily while on vacation, returning emails or taking calls. This may seem like true dedication to a job, but experts say that when employees don’t take time to recharge it can hurt both the productivity and the quality of work they produce, in addition to increasing both their stress and disengagement levels.
Research also shows that taking time off can help promote creativity and improve critical thinking skills and productivity when employees return to work. So with the summer season almost here, now is the perfect time to discuss with your team the current workload and how to best accomplish projects while still allowing everyone to enjoy some time off. In addition, consider the following ideas for ensuring that you and your employees feel comfortable when team members are taking their well-deserved vacations.
Have a Plan for Coverage
Of course, it’s critical that business needs are met while employees are away—and nothing kills the glow of a great vacation more than when employees know they will face piles of work when they return. Take some time upfront to detail a plan, with the help of your employees, to cover the work that needs to get done while each person is away. You may also want to do some cross-training of employees so they are prepared for any new duties they need to cover for a co-worker.
Make It ‘Safe’ to Take Vacations
Many companies spend time and resources applauding employees that go the extra mile for their job, which is a great way to recognize outstanding performance. However, few organizations (knowingly or not) create a culture that endorses the need for employees to take time off to recharge. Employees may worry that if they take a vacation they’ll be perceived by their peers or supervisor as less dedicated than those that don’t. Some individuals may also fear that their position of being ‘indispensable’ will be compromised if they take time off. To help counter these feelings, make it “safe” for employees to take time off without feeling guilty by encouraging them to do so, putting a plan in place to make sure their work is covered while they are gone, and asking them about their vacation when they return.
Set a Good Example
Don’t underestimate the impact that your own behavior and attitude about vacation has on your team. If you never take time off, your employees may feel that you don’t want them to either. Share what your vacation plans are and how important it is for everyone to take time to recharge. Don’t have a vacation planned? Maybe it’s time to think about taking a few days off to refresh—it’s likely you will come back to your business feeling more energized, productive, and with some great memories that you can share with your team.