vacation time

Taking vacations with my family has always been one of my greatest joys. When I was a kid, my parents would pile a ridiculous amount of luggage into the hatchback, somehow cram my siblings and I in the back, and off we went, singing songs and playing car games. Now, I’m the parent, and I’m piling my kids and luggage into the car and driving off to a faraway destination. The only difference is now it’s a suburban, and they have Tablets and Smart Phones to entertain themselves. However, I have found that now that all-American road trip or vacation isn’t as common among employees as it used to be. According to a study, in 2000, vacation usage fell below that long-term average of  20.8 days a year, and has been steadily declining ever since. Everyone needs a little time to rest up and recuperate. Burning out doesn’t help your employees or our company, so what should you do about vacations and your employees?

While it isn’t illegal to not allow vacations, most companies recognize the health benefits it offers and set policies for their employees. Forbes contributor Tanya Mohn supports this idea by stating, “most managers recognize the benefits taking time off from work provide to employees: higher productivity, stronger workplace morale, greater employee retention, and significant health benefits.” Despite the obvious benefits, Americans still neglect taking time off, such as the 66% of Americans that didn’t use their time in 2010.

The reality is is that some employees might feel guilty for taking time off or feel like their workload is too heavy to be able to leave. Mohn sites a study, stating, “nearly 34% of employees surveyed indicated that their employer neither encouraged nor discouraged leave, and 17% of managers considered employees who take all of their leave to be less dedicated” It’s possible that if your employees never ask for vacation, they might be feeling guilty or discouraged. As a leader or manager of the workplace, you might have to tell your employees to take time off for a little TLC.

When setting a vacation policy, think about asking for employee input. Once the vacation policy is set, it can be difficult to change, so asking your employees their thoughts on vacation benefits could be helpful. According to INC writer Lauren Folino, “One thing to remember is that if you decide to ask your employees what they want, you have to provide them with the proper education about potential plans so they can make a well-informed decision. ” Therefore, you can increase the percentage of employees who are happy with the plan. Having a preferred vacation policy also gives you a competitive edge is hiring the top talent.

On the other hand, some businesses don’t have vacation time policies, but rather allow their employees to take as much time as they want off. Folino states, “The theory behind this option is that it de-bureaucratizes the workplace, and, rather than making employees feel like they will be compensated for productivity, they will maintain increased productivity by not having to stress out about proving their self-worth within the company.” However, many companies are uncertain if a no-vacation policy will work for them.

When it comes down to vacation time, you must decide what’s best for your company and your employees. Trying to find the balance between the appropriate amount of time off and not being taken advantage of can be tough. It’s also important for employees to see their leaders taking time off. So, maybe you can think more about this on a beach somewhere.

Corban OneSource is a Mid Market Human Resource Outsourcer or HRO for companies of 75 to 6,000 employees. Are you looking to outsource the core HR functions of Payroll, Benefits Administration and HR Support? Find out more here.