Although the world is progressing in every aspect, employee vacation time has just not been explored enough yet. With the rising competition in every industry, employees are constantly at work, finding it difficult to maintain a work-life balance, and so, the ‘On-A-Holiday’ notification is essentially not used by most employees.
Studies show that almost 66% of Americans work even when they are on a vacation, if they take one in the first place. More than 50% of the American workforce does not utilize their designated annual vacation period owing to workplace pressure and other stressful issues. Most employees cite fleeting deadlines, hectic backlogs, and high ambitions as primary reasons to skip taking vacations. Also, workplace burnout issues have been predicted to be a possible reason for employees to defer their vacation period.
Although the lack of proper federal laws to mandate vacation days justifies the reason for employees not taking definite vacations, research shows the workplace culture also has a major role to play in it. Taking vacations at least once a year has proven to rejuvenate employee wellbeing and workplace wellness, thus improving their productivity and have a better work-life balance. And so, employers are adopting newer workplace strategies that address strict boundaries to maintain a work-life balance, DND vacation policies, and other ways that allow their employees to unplug from the mundane and spend time for themselves, reflecting better workplace wellness.
A Google Consumer Survey was conducted previously on 1,200 American employees to know their take on vacations.
Google Consumer Survey Outcomes
According to the survey, on average, Americans took a paid leave of only 10 days in a year, which was the least holiday time taken in comparison to the other countries. While Mexico came next with an average of 13 paid vacation days annually, Japan had 18 days, the UK had 28 days, France had 36 days, and Spain had the most with 40 paid vacation days per employee per year.
The survey also showed that almost 66% of the American workforce was working regularly out of their fixed working hours. While 47% of them did not use their vacation period at all, 21% gave up almost 5 or more of their vacation days. 13% of the employees did not take their vacation fearing the heavy workload they would have to come back to, 19% had peer-pressure stopping them from taking a vacation. Also, 27% felt they had hectic deadlines to complete, and therefore could not afford to take off for a holiday.
Science Says Taking Vacations Is Good For Employee Health and Wellbeing
Scientific studies show that taking vacations from time to time is not only good for employee health and wellbeing, but also great for their employers. Going on a holiday gives a break from the mundane work and routine. This refreshes the employees, de-stresses them away from the work pressure, and are more satisfied with their personal lives too, all of which reflect holistic wellness, better organizational productivity, and workplace wellness. Also, when employees are allowed to maintain a better work-life balance without being pressurized by employers, it boosts employee engagement and their trust in the company. When employees feel their employers care for them, they tend to be more loyal towards their company, reducing the employee turnover rates.
Apart from establishing workplace wellness, 4 major benefits can be incurred upon taking regular vacation time annually.
- The body becomes strong and buoyant to stress.
- Employees who take regular vacations are less prone to illnesses.
- They are more rejuvenated and motivated to get back to work.
- Change of location and exposure to nature boosts creativity.
How Employers Can Motivate Taking Employee Vacations?
Changing employee attitude towards taking vacation times more seriously is needed to encourage them to take an off from work for a holiday. Employers can foster flexible working schedules and establish a healthy workplace culture with policies that allow employees to take a stress-free vacation.
Flexible and Remote Working Schedules
When employees are given the freedom to complete their tasks from anywhere at any time, they are more loyal and responsible towards their work. Be it allowing the night-workers to sleep in through the day or letting working parents leave early to pick their kids, when employers are flexible with their policies, the employees will also reciprocate positively and are more open to reply to work-related emails on their holidays or weekends.
Providing The Needed Resources
Working remotely comes with different requirements of resources and tools. To make it convenient for the employees to respond to work-related emails or messages while on a holiday or while working remotely, employers must ensure they equip their employees appropriately. The requirements may include – laptops, headsets, VPN, etc., to ensure effective working of the employees even while on a vacation or while working remote working.
Offering Vacation Bonus
Many companies offer a vacation bonus to encourage their employees to go on a vacation. Evernote offers $1K to each employee as vacation bonus, and Moz offers $4K. Employers can offer such bonus or reimburse their vacation expenses after they make their holiday bookings. Extend the bonus support to their partners or family, while considering the company’s budget. Companies also provide ‘workation’ bonus of upto $2000 allowing them to go on a long holiday for a week or two, while still working for a few hours or completing light tasks. Accordingly, they can also provide the needed resources and equipment they might if they have to respond during their vacation, by intimating them ahead.
Arrange Team Vacations or Weekend Getaways
Organizing team vacations, hiking or camping trips will not only give employees a break from their work, but will also encourage bonding, thus, building stronger teams. The employees can also exchange their creative ideas while enjoying their holiday. As a part of the corporate wellness programs, employers can include fun activities as wellness challenges. This will not only help them complete their challenges, but will refresh them and keep them active, while having fun.
With the holiday season right here, employers must consider different ways to ensure their workforce unplugs from the work stress and enjoys the holidays with family and friends. The COVID-19 has restricted social gatherings and outings, making it difficult to go on out-of-country trips. However, employers can give them the needed time-off from work to celebrate the upcoming Christmas and New Year with their loved ones at home or by going on local trips.