Ways to Encourage Workers to Use Vacation Time

Many U.S. employees have a chronic problem with using their vacation days – they don’t use them. According to a new Robert Half survey, nearly 4 in 10 workers end up leaving vacation time on the table at the end of the year. When it comes to effective benefits administration, HR professionals need to encourage workers to use vacation time. According to an article in Inc. magazine, not only does this mean staff members utilize their perks, but the company benefits from having more productive employees.

The Robert Half survey received 436 full-time workers’ responses and found only 58 percent use all of their days off. The top reasons for those who don’t include not wanting to fall behind on work, fearing the time off will be needed later, and anticipating manager disapproval.

“Whether you’re a vacation ‘saver’ or ‘spender,’ it is essential to have balance,” Paul McDonald said about the study. “All work and no play does not just lead to burnout – it also erodes creativity, since stepping out of your routine frequently sparks innovation.”

Human resource professionals need to motivate their workers to use their vacation time so employees achieve higher performance. For this to happen, HR needs to understand what is holding staff members back and adopt strategies to combat them. Here are three ways HR professionals can help workers use their paid time off:

1. Create No-Working-While-on-Vacation Policies

Even when they take days off, many workers tend to remain connected to the office through email or similar communication. In an article for Forbes, lawyer and tax expert Kelly Phillips Erb wrote about her first years as an attorney. During this time, she only took six days off but ended up working on five of those days. One of the most significant benefits of vacation time is not working. HR professionals should ensure that employees aren’t harming their productivity and relaxation time by staying connected to the workplace. Develop policies prohibiting employees from working while out of the office on vacation time.

2. Provide Support for Those Who Use Their Time Off

Similarly, as part of benefits administration, HR professionals should ensure workers don’t feel bad for taking vacation time. It can be easy for employees to not use vacation time out of fear they will be looked down on. HR professionals should prevent this.

3. Showcase Benefits of Taking Vacations

Lastly, human resource departments need to highlight the benefits of vacation time to workers, who may not realize they are harming themselves by not taking time off.

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