Everyone looks forward to time away from the office, but according to recent surveys, a remarkable number of Americans are not taking time off that is given to them. Paid time off, vacation and sick time are typically included in the benefits package that an employer offers and something that employees should be embracing.
The work-life balance is extremely important and there are tips and things to consider that will help everyone get through the summer months.
According to a Glassdoor study of 2,300 workers published in October 2014; only 51 percent of eligible PTO/Vacation time was used. The study went on to say that 61 percent of Americans work while they are on vacation. One in 4 employees are contacted by a colleague while on vacation, and 1 in 5 employees are contacted by their boss.
American workers receive an average of 10 paid work days off per year and 6 paid federal holidays, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research. From these numbers, we can see that employees are not taking the time off that they can, and when they do, they do something work-related while on their time off.
Employers don’t want their staff to become burned out or overworked.
Suggestions for how to help employees achieve a healthy work-life balance:
- Offer flexible working hours
- Offer a PTO bank instead of traditional paid sick leave, personal days and vacation
- Allow limited carry-over of PTO into another calendar year
- As a manager or supervisor, be a model of work-life balance
- Don’t contact other employees while they are away on vacation or personal time
- Sponsor employee events to boost morale
- Consider job sharing (one full-time position can be shared by two part-timers).
While it is important to encourage employees to take time off, it is also important to maintain productivity. Summer can sometimes be tough for businesses dealing with staff shortages during these prime vacation months.
Suggestions for how to keep the momentum going:
- Put employee vacation schedules into one master schedule for the group to view
- Outline with the group what needs to be done before and during each person’s time off
- Have a coverage schedule arranged for each vacation
- Balance the extra workload among multiple employees instead of just one or two
- Consider hiring summer interns to help with smaller tasks such as filing
Summer can be an exciting time but also a stressful time for employers. Preparation and good communication can turn it into a very productive working season.
Kari Stanley, HR Generalist