As we head into the holiday season, consider this a gentle reminder not to give employees a hard time when it comes to time off and flex time. Trust us, you want your staff to take the time off they’ve earned. It can lead to a healthier, happier, more productive workplace. Project: Time Off, a research group located in Washington, D.C., quantifies this in an interesting way: They found that people who take fewer than 10 of their vacation days per year had a 34.6% likelihood of receiving a raise or bonus over three years. People who took more than 10 of their vacation days had a 65.4% chance of receiving a raise or bonus.
Think about your own workforce and tell us: Do your overworked martyrs really get rewarded?
But here’s the problem: In its most recent analysis, the U.S. Travel Association found that more than half of Americans (55%) are still not using all their paid time off. In 2018, American workers failed to use 768 million days of PTO—a 9% increase from 2017.
Why? Many are afraid to ask for it. Based on a West Monroe Partners survey, half of your employees may be uneasy about asking managers for time off during busy times of the year.
“Two-thirds of employees say they hear very little about [using] vacation time from their companies,” adds Katie Denis, senior director and lead researcher at Project: Time Off. “That silence creates a vacuum, and we fill that vacuum with our anxieties and assumptions about what our bosses and colleagues could think about our vacation time.” In reality, you might feel the same as an overwhelming majority of other employers who, as the organization found out, agree that vacations improve an employees’ focus and alleviate burnout.
Consider West Monroe Partners’ advice on making it easier for employees to ask for time off and taking steps like closing the office on days beyond federal holidays and accommodating more remote working during times you can’t grant everyone leave. Communicate well and get those employees out of the office. You’ll be thankful you did.