Millions of people began working remotely in 2020. As 2021 continues, experts predict that one in four will continue to work remotely. With all this time spent at home, many employees are forgoing vacation time. What’s more, 56% of employees say they touch base with work when on vacation. The importance of taking time off from work is clear: it relieves stress, improves job performance and promotes overall wellbeing. Here are some ideas to help encourage employees to take some much-needed time away from work.
When people think of vacation, they often think of going somewhere—the beach, the mountains or to visit family. Since many people aren’t traveling right now, employees may feel there’s no point in taking vacation. Help employees see that taking time off is investing in their future self. It’s not vacation time, it’s recovery time. Offer ideas on what to do during their time off to relax and recharge. Employees could try reading a book, starting a new hobby or spending time at home with their families. Employee giveaways like an adult coloring book with colored pencils or a cube puzzle are great ways to de-stress.
Clearly explain benefits
Most employees—72%—agree taking time off makes them feel healthier and more productive. Even bosses notice the difference: 78% say vacation improves an employee’s focus and 81% say it alleviates burnout. Share this information with employees. Understanding that time off means they’ll actually be able to get more done when they come back can motivate them to take time off. Make it clear that taking vacation time is not ‘slacking’. Encourage employees with a ‘time off package’. Fill a box with fun items, such as a cupcake stress reliever and a granola bar, or relaxing items like zen bar soap and a mini bottle of essential oil.
Two out of five employees feel guilty taking time off because of either pressure from their boss or worry over creating extra work for colleagues. Avoid this by training managers to schedule and delegate work while someone is away. Create a “no-contact” policy—no contacting a person on vacation unless it’s a true emergency. Giving managers a weekly planner can help them see who’s available to help.
Ensure job security
A shocking 55% of employees say they don’t take time off because of fear they’ll lose their job or miss out on a promotion. Reassure them that taking time off does not cause any missed opportunities or job loss. Knowing those in upper management want them to take advantage of their vacation time—and that they’ll never be penalized for it—goes a long way.
Time for a break
By clearly explaining the importance of taking time off from work, training managers to plan accordingly and assuring employees they have nothing to lose (and everything to gain), you can help staff refresh and recharge with a much-deserved break.