Too many hours spent at the office can make employees anxious, depressed, exhausted as well as grumpy. Burnout is difficult to come back from and can cost you dedicated, skilled people. Every business has time during the year when all hands are needed on deck. However, ensuring that all of your employees get a chance to take time off is of equal importance.
Believe it or not, there is a significant portion of American workers that refuse to use their vacation time. In fact, according to Market Watch, nearly half of U.S. workers don't use their vacation days.
There are many reasons why this can happen. Some workers are afraid they will lose their jobs, while others are concerned they will fall behind at work while on vacation. Some think that if they work more, there will be a higher chance of getting rewarded with a pay raise.
No matter the reason, the fact is that many employees don't use time off that they are given, even if studies have shown us that taking time off does result in more productive and happier employees.
This is why it's your job as a responsible business owner to encourage your employees to use their vacation days to keep them motivated, happy, and healthy.
Relax the Rules
Employees need flexibility when arranging time off. Not everyone's family members or partner has a say when they can take time off, so requiring people to arrange something weeks or even months in advance can be challenging and off-putting.
If you are using automated employee scheduling software, you can even allow people to put a request in for the following day. As long as they can find someone to cover their shift on short notice, it really shouldn't impact your business.
Why not offer partial leave days as well. If a few hours is all an employee needs to take care of something, they should be able to take that time off without restriction. Not every person needs several weeks to refuel, an afternoon off every now and then can really work wonders for morale and productivity.
No More Carryover
Another great way to encourage employees to take time off is to stop allowing them to carry it over. Many workers who have carryover options operate under the assumption they are going to need all of those free days, so it is best to save them up.
In reality, most employees never end up using them. One way to require employees to use all of their time off days is to let them know that carrying over time off is no longer an option. Your scheduling software can help with this process by automatically clearing out time off when the new year arrives..
Make sure to give your employees plenty of time to adjust to a changing policy so that nobody is blindsided. If you have many employees with stored time, it will be hard for them to use it all, and losing it can result in frustration and reduce morale.
Another available option is to give employees with more hours a chance to arrange a one-time payout. After that, they would then abide by the use it or lose it policy.
If you offer personal or sick leave, you can provide employees with a chance to cash out a portion of that time, but the remaining must be used. This can be an excellent incentive for those employees you have to push out of the workplace to get them to take a break.
If you provide a cash bonus during the holidays, then consider investing in people in other ways. Travel incentives don't have to be expensive. An overnight trip to a nearby city or tickets to a local concert won't break your bonus budget.
Travel incentives are also a great way to celebrate meeting personal and professional goals. For example, if a full-time employee has finished their degree, help them celebrate with a weekend getaway and a nice dinner out.
Offer Flex Time
Another option available to you to promote the time off is to allow flex time. Most employees put in a standard 40-hour workweek in this usually averages to eight hours per day. However, if you offer flex time, consider allowing employees to mix it up to suit their needs better.
Perhaps an employee needs off on a Friday afternoon but would rather not take a full day of vacation. Why not allow them to work for 10-hour days so they can earn all of their hours and have a nice day off at the end of the week.
It may be challenging to balance these types of schedule requests all the time, but once in awhile, it shouldn't be difficult. Your scheduling software should be able to handle flex scheduling with ease.