If you are a HR Manager, you already know how hectic the summer can get, with employee leave one of the main issues to handle. But with the pressures that come with it every year, surely employees who hold off on their summer holiday entitlements are doing you a favour? Actually, that is not necessarily true.
Who would not want to take their holidays? Well, several studies show that this is a problem that genuinely exists. In fact, according to a 2014 study carried out by the U.S. Travel Association, some 40% of Americans plan on not taking all of the Paid Time Off (PTO) that they are entitled to.
In 2016, Project: Time Off, a national movement to transform US attitudes and behaviour around vacation, found that in 2016, Americans took 16.2 days of the 21.9 days of vacation they were offered – translating to 662 million days. In 2017, that figure grew to 705 million days.
It’s not exclusive to the US, however, with 13% of UK workers taking just 20% of their employee holidays entitlements, and just 43% of workers taking between 91% and 100% of their entitlement.
Several reasons are offered up in these surveys, with ‘feeling guilty’, ‘being expected to respond to emails’ and ‘not wanting to seem replaceable’ among them. But while such commitment to a company might be impressive, it can be doing more damage than good. So, encouraging employees to take their summer holiday entitlements is actually a positive policy.
4 Reasons Why You Should Encourage Employees To Take Their Leave
- More Relaxed, More Productive Employees
- Increased Job Satisfaction For Greater Retention
- Reduced Company Costs
- Improved Employee Health
The whole idea behind having a holiday, any holiday, is to recharge the batteries. In most positions, work can become a hard slog after months of commitment, effort and stress. Escaping the workplace is a highly effective way to let the mind and the body recover.
According to a 2013 Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) study, 75% of people and culture professionals reported better performances from team members who had taken more summer employee leave days than from those who took less. Meanwhile, 78% reported that holidays improve employee’s focus and 81% said they alleviate burnout.
A happy worker is always more likely to stay with the company they are working for. So encouraging taking time off is a good way to retain your precious talent. According to another SHRM study, 78% of human resources directors found that team members who took more vacation days reported higher job satisfaction.
In the US, Project: Time Off carried out research and found that 68% of employees whose employers actively encouraged taking holidays were much happier in their jobs than those whose employers didn’t, 42%.
On the surface, having employees so committed that they will forgo holidays to continue working seems like an ideal situation. But all that extra work may actually end up costing you. In their report The High Cost Of Silence, Project: Time Off pointed out that US companies recorded roughly $272 billion in unused vacation time, representing a serious vacation liability. These were costs added to the running of a company, including absenteeism and health issues, which a lack of time off leads to.
Not taking a sufficiently long break can eat away at an employee’s health. This regression can be slow and almost unnoticeable, but in the end failing health is a negative influence on your productivity as well as the workplace generally.
Studies from 2000 revealed that taking fewer holidays does affect the likelihood of developing heart disease, for women as well as men, with one concluding that those who failed to take employee holiday entitlements were 32% more likely to die of a heart attack.
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