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  • Writer's pictureSusan & Renée

Re-thinking Vacation Policies


Taking time off from work is key to preventing employees from burning out and this protects the company’s resources by maintaining quality performance, high morale, and low turnover.

 

As we discussed last week, however, even with paid time off as part of the employee benefit package, many employees don’t take the full amount of leave they are given

 

If your company’s employees are reluctant to use their time off, you may want to look deeper and see what this says about the company culture. For example,

  • Is being overworked viewed as a badge of honor and proof of employee dedication?

  • Is taking time off viewed as a lack of commitment?

  • Are promotions, raises or other rewards earned by working to exhaustion?

  • Do workers primarily use time off to recover so that they can return to do more work?

 

If you can answer yes to any of these questions, your company may have a toxic culture that primes employees for burnout. Unfortunately, this has become so common that it is now seen as normal and is rarely questioned.

 

There are numerous causes and remedies for burnout culture, but as it relates to the issue of giving employees time off, several companies are experimenting with different strategies. The important thing to remember is that there are things leadership can do to create a culture where taking time off is viewed favorably as being healthy, wise and good for the company.

 

One company, SimpliFlying, experimented with a novel approach to vacation policies.

  • They instituted mandatory vacation policies that required employees to use their vacation time or lose it. They were not allowed to accrue days off.  Employees had to take one week off every 8 weeks.

  • They put at least two people on a project to ensure there is a backup while one person is out. They also required project partners to stagger vacations so that both of those people weren’t away at the same time.

  • Advance notice is required when taking time off so that clients can be notified and workloads adjusted.

  • They limited time off to one week at a time except for special circumstances.

  • If employees contacted the office in any way during their time off, the company wouldn’t pay for the week off.

 

Managers’ reviews of employees after implementing the policy showed significant increases in productivity, creativity, and happiness. They also reported that employee participation in meetings improved meaningfully.

 

While SimpliFlying is a small company and this is just one example, it models innovation for re-thinking vacation systems so that they are more than just chances to recharge from work but provide opportunities for true restoration and joy. This kind of time away feeds the whole human and sets employees up to continually bring their best to the job.

 

If you would like help rethinking your vacation policies in a way that aligns with the culture you are trying to promote, give G2 Solutions a call. We’d love to guide you in making this happen.

Image Credit: Getty Images

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