Taking time off from work was once seen as being unproductive and lazy by employers. However, employers are now starting to recognize the benefits of taking time off and understand how important it is to the employees and the organization. By encouraging employees to take time off, employers promote a healthy and thriving workplace, as supported by EY’s report which states that for every 10 vacation hours an employee took, average performance reviews were 8% higher. Aside from this statistic, there are various other reasons why employers must support employees taking time off.
1. Avoid burnout
The main reason why employers need to actively advocate for time off is to minimize the risk of employees feeling burnt out. Over 89% of full-time employees experience burnout in 2021 and with the current economic tensions and uncertainties, this number is expected to remain around the same if not more. This burnout is a rising cost to companies since it can also lead to employees taking longer leaves and leaving their jobs completely. Burnout can be experienced even in perfect working conditions, which makes it important for employers to look out for employees’ well-being no matter what the workplace culture is.
For example, FullContact, a US-based tech company provides its employees a $7500 vacation stipend every year and has made it a rule that employees have to completely unplug during the vacation. Director of Corporate Communications, Brad McCarty, said, “We focus on the best ways to keep employees happy and healthy. If they’re not getting away and disconnecting periodically, we’re not getting their best work.”
2. Boosted creativity and clarity
Taking time off allows one to view problems from different perspectives and reassess the project calmly. This can lead to an increase in creativity and problem-solving skills. The tranquility and peace that most people experience during vacations and free time can also act as inspiration and allow one to innovate. This theory is also supported by various entrepreneurs since 20% of them said that they thought of their start-up idea while they were on vacation/time off.
It is no surprise that a company like Netflix, which thrives on creativity, offers an unlimited vacation policy to its employees. This policy helps employees offset the effects of having to work during the weekends and in the evenings. Netflix’s CEO, Reed Hastings was inspired to implement this policy when an employee told him, “We work at odd hours too often. Sometimes we work during the weekends and sometimes we take half- days for personal reasons. We don’t track hours worked per day or week. Why are we tracking days of vacation per year?”
3. Improve employee relations
When a company actively encourages employees to take a vacation, it can have happier and more dedicated employees. This decreases employee turnover and recruitment costs and ultimately increases profitability. Moreover, employees can appreciate the company more for their healthy culture, and employers can feel more connected to the more responsive and passionate workforce, this overall reinforces mutual appreciation between the company and its employees. This company culture and ideology can also help recruit better and more progressive employees as employees now prioritize a better work-life balance.
LinkedIn is popular for its immaculate work-life balance and culture of care. Employees can avail themselves of unlimited vacation time at LinkedIn along with 17 paid holidays. The company also has a monthly tradition of celebrating InDay. During Investment Day (InDay), employees are encouraged to focus on their passion projects and can break out of the daily work monotony. Last year, LinkedIn also decided to set a stellar benchmark by giving the entire company a paid week off. Most of LinkedIn’s 15900 employees were allowed to take a week off to relax, rewind and recharge.
In conclusion, it is evident that by encouraging employees to take time off, a company can enjoy various benefits. However, it is important to note that creating policies and implementing them is not enough. Managers and employers need to actively encourage employees since most employees still believe that they will be penalized and disadvantaged if they take a vacation. By verbally nudging them to use their time off and positively discussing vacations, employees can be reminded that it is perfectly normal to take time off and focus on themselves.