Human Capital Management Blog

Strategies for HCM Professionals

Are your employees using enough of their vacation time?

vacationJust about everyone who works in the HCM space can agree with the sentiment that running a successful business requires a solid approach to maximizing employee productivity. Some might disagree, however, about exactly how to do that.

Here’s an idea that might sound counterintuitive, but it really works – if you want people to achieve more at work, encourage them to take time off. It might sound crazy that vacations would make people more productive and not less, but a lot of HR leaders have found it to be true. Time away from the office allows you to recharge your batteries and come back refocused, ready to achieve at peak levels.

Sadly, not enough employees these days are taking the time off they need to be at their best. What can we do about this problem?

A growing trend in the workforce
According to HR Morning, the problem of employees not taking enough time off work is one that’s growing over time. Tim Gould, editor in chief of What’s Working in Human Resources, noted that a recent Deloitte survey identified millennials as the most frequent offenders.

This might surprise some, as the media often portrays the younger generation as passive and lazy, but in the workplace that’s not the case. Rather, millennials are competitive and trying to get ahead.

“The biggest reason for that, according to Deloitte, is that they want to make a good impression, and they think that taking time off will make them appear less productive,” Gould explained. “But you know the opposite is closer to the truth – failing to take a vacation leads to more stress and burnout.”

Enacting change from the top down
So what can companies do to chip away at the underused vacation time problem? HR Morning suggests starting from the top. If your high-level executives get into the habit of using their days off, that tendency just might trickle down.

“If upper managers take their vacation time, your mid-level management will then take their vacation time,” Gould predicted. “That, in turn, will trickle down to your younger and, most likely, entry-level workforce. They’ll see by example that taking vacation is welcome and won’t lead to them being labeled as lazy or less productive.”

Like any other problem in business, the issue of overwork and burnout is one that can be addressed through better communication. Emphasize to your employees that taking days away from the office isn’t just allowed – it’s encouraged. The result will be a more positive work environment for everyone.

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