As a HR manager you may occasionally come across an employee with lots of accumulated vacation days. At first glance this may seem like a positive since the employee appears to be working hard. However, research shows that workers who don’t take time off are more likely to be discontent, less productive and more likely to quit. Reasons for not using the allotted vacation days may vary from lack of job security, fear of losing a promotion or feeling that no one else will be able to do the job. Encouraging employees to take advantage of paid benefits will lead to happier workers and improve morale. Here are a few reasons why you should encourage workers to take time off.

Decrease Turnover

Studies show that company turnover can be decreased by as much as a third by encouraging employees to take time off. In addition, workers who take time off are less likely to have stress related illnesses and file workers compensation claims. Managers will also reap benefits as the workload from vacation time is a lot more manageable compared to unscheduled time off. The workload can also be managed and delegated ahead of time.

Improve Camaraderie

Giving employees time off gives other employees the ability to try new tasks and learn new skills. This helps to build a stronger team while providing workers with more awareness of what others are contributing to the company. The new worker may even bring a fresh perspective and end up discovering improvements. Use vacation time as a way to build a stronger team and cross train. 

Taking Action

Communication is vital in order to encourage employees to take time off. Some companies actively encourage employees to take time off but may have a competitive or demanding atmosphere which may make workers feel hesitant or even guilty about asking for time off.

It’s crucial to have upper management actively involved in encouraging time off. Another way to encourage workers to take their days off is to limit vacation day rollovers from one year to the next.         

Consider Unlimited Vacation Benefits

Unlimited time off can be an excellent incentive if you’re trying to recruit talent in a competitive market. Create a FAQ in order to address questions about how many days can be taken as vacation at a time and how requests should be submitted.

According to Barr & Young Attorneys, some states, including California, consider vacation days as part of an employee’s pay. As a result unlimited vacation days may be challenging to establish for workers who get paid by the hour. Some companies may offer different vacation policies for “exempt” or salaried employees versus nonexempt workers. You may also need to revise your time-off policy in order to distinguish vacation time from medical and maternity leave.

Workers often cite a healthy work-life balance as a priority when considering job satisfaction. Encourage your staff to take time off for a more productive and happier staff.