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When we think of summer, we think of sun, construction, great weather and most importantly, vacations. 93% of Canadians say vacations are essential to happiness, yet less than half utilize vacation days. Unfortunately, this can do a lot of damage to a company or organization. Many employers shutter at the idea of losing an employee for a week. Who will take over their work? What tasks and projects will be delayed? How will we keep the organization running smoothly? However, what many employers don’t realize is the best way to keep the organization running smoothly is to encourage workers to take time to rest and recharge in order to maintain (or even increase) their daily productivity.

Studies show that taking a vacation or regular time off helps to reduce stress and prevent burnout. According to a survey conducted by Project: Time Off, 84% of managers reported their employees are more focused and creative when they return to work after taking time off. It’s no secret that people feel refreshed when given a break from the monotony of their daily routine.

What are the benefits?
  • Increased productivity in the workplace
  • Less stress-related illness n the workplace
  • Fewer burned out workers
  • Promotes a happier work environment
  • Encourages work-life blending
So, why aren’t employees taking vacation time?

Many workers feel guilty about taking time off. In a survey conducted by CareerBuilder, 18% of employees said vacations caused them to be more stressed about work. 36% of employees said that they’ve returned from vacation to find so much work, they wish they’d never left at all. This could be a contribution to the reason that Canadians leave 31 million unused time-off days each year, according to National Post.

So what can we do about it?

Setting up a vacation plan/paid time-off days can reduce some of the anxiety employees may have around taking time off. Having set days per month or year that employees are given (or earn) towards vacation time or paid time-off is said to make employees feel that they are ‘allowed’ to take time to recharge from work. Many employers have seen that implementing vacation/time-off plans has caused employees to take considerably less sick days.

Train your workers to perform various tasks. Eliminate the “who will cover my tasks?” worry by training workers in various tasks. This way, when workers go on vacation, they can be confident that there is another worker that is capable of standing in should the need arise.

Maintain a vacation schedule. This way, you can avoid having multiple employees on vacation at a time and putting excess pressure on the workers left behind. This can also help schedule company events and projects that require the presence of the entire team.

Regularly communicate to workers why you want them to take time off. Let your employees know that you value their health and their lives outside of the workplace. Encourage your workers to take action toward work-life blending in order to maintain a certain standard of work.

Encouraging your team to take time-off and use their vacation days proves many benefits not just to the workers, but to the company and culture as a whole. Companies that offer great vacation benefits and paid time-off have a better employee retention.

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