As a new employee, Jane felt excited about the job and getting that one week of paid vacation almost out of the gate. But now she’s been at her company for five years, has accrued two weeks of vacation, and has never taken more than three days off at a stretch. She has various reasons why: She doesn’t want to miss work because of the inevitable pile awaiting her return, the fear of someone realizing she’s replaceable…and the unspoken fact that the company tends to subtly look down on people who take that time off even though it’s there for the using. Think about it — do you encourage your employees to take time away? What message do you send, if any? Because if you want employees to give you their best and find a work-life balance, you really should encourage them to get away every so often.
- Lead by example. On the one hand, you want to demonstrate that you’re dedicated by coming in early and staying late as needed. However, if you never take time off for yourself, your employees will also follow suit. Take a week vacation every so often and make it seem like a normal and necessary part of work. Figure out how to make your own time away go smoothly so you can make an easy transition back….and make this possible for your employees as well.
- Help make it happen. When an employee puts in for vacation time, rather than seeming put out or frustrated that he’s “missing work,” ask him about where he’s going and work with him to figure out how he’ll get work covered. This will make it easier for everyone both when the employee is gone and when he returns. Assure him as well that he doesn’t need to constantly check his email or voicemail — let him truly switch off so he can return refreshed, relaxed, and ready to jump back in.
- It helps your bottom line. Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, states that “the brain can think positively, productivity improves by 31 percent, sales increase by 37 percent, and creativity and revenues can triple.” Even the best workers need a break every now and then…and a much-needed vacation can reenergize a stressed worker and allow her to give a better effort. Plus, if you’re paying for vacation time whether it’s used or not, accrued vacation time will actually cost more for you in the end when employees quit or retire.
- It has a ripple effect. Quite simply, happy employees do better work and stay longer than stressed-out, overworked employees do. When you encourage and allow for a work-life balance by urging them to take vacations, you’re recognizing that employees have lives outside of work that matter…and when they have time off, they come back ready to focus and produce. It’s entirely possible to work hard and play hard, and a company that appreciates both will get more from its employees.
So next time an employee asks to use vacation time, send them off with a plan for their time away and a genuine, “Have fun!” For help figuring out that plan or for any of your staffing needs, reach out to the experienced Thousand Oaks staffing professionals at PrideStaff.