Are Your Employees Using their Vacation Time?

A few months ago, I had written a posting in regard to promoting a healthy-work life balance within the workplace. I went over the general idea of why it was important to promote this balance and the negative consequences that can occur if you do not create a culture that encourages that. Part of having that balance is making your employees take time off as needed, whether it is for a sick day or just a mental break to recuperate. Recently, the Director of Public Relations from Compliance and Safety, Matthew Pelletier, had reached out to me. He showed me an interesting infograph  that discussed the fact that many American workers don’t take personal and vacation time that they are awarded. This has sparked today’s blog post: are your employees using their vacation time?

This infograph showed that many workers did not take their vacation time, if they were even offered any by their employer. But if employees have this time to take for themselves, why aren’t they? Studies have concluded that there are several reasons why:

  • Fear for job stability: many employees worry about job stability in the shaky economy. They fear that their employers will see that they really don’t have a need for them.
  • Fear for their work ethic: once again, many employees are worried about how their work ethic is viewed by their employers in this economy. Many fear that if they take time off for vacation or sick time, that their employers will believe that they are not as dedicated to their work as other employees. Additionally, they fear that they will get backlash from peers for “slacking off.”
  • Lack of money: many employees do not have the disposable income they once had and therefore feel like it is a waste to take time off without having the means to actually go anywhere.
  • Backlog issues: employees worry that leaving work for a few days will cause a work backlog that can actually cause them more stress than not taking the vacation at all.
  • Workaholic syndrome: technology has bred many workaholics and have caused workers to always be accessible and working 24/7. Many employees can’t force themselves to unplug enough to enjoy a vacation.

It is important for your employees to take time, as they see fit. If they do not have this work/life balance, stress will decrease productivity and happiness; and increase sickness and absenteeism. It is more beneficial to have your employees take time off than to have them work straight through. As managers and leaders, you must set an example for your employees before negative situations occur. Take vacations yourself, promote the importance of taking time off, and encourage them to do so even if it’s a day to relax at home here or there. It will create a positive culture and workforce.

More related articles:

Why Aren’t You Taking Your Vacation Time?

Inc: Do Your Employees Skip Vacation Time? Don’t let them

Photo Source

Why American’s are Afraid to take Vacation

Compliance and Safety Infograph

Will Results Only Work Environment Work for You?

Earlier this week, I was talking to WilsonHCG about their virtual positions for recruiters and sourcers. I was very interested in hearing how they made these types of positions work for them because I have never worked “virtually” before but I was always curious about it. They seemed to have these roles down pat, from the technology they use all the way to the performance tracking tools they have in place to keep everyone on track. Many people and companies have debated that these types of employees would never be as efficient as those who come into the office. However, this company and many others have progressively proved that statement wrong.

With the thoughts of virtual positions floating around in my head, I began to let my mind wander to other alternative workplace environments that I’ve learned of. I recalled learning about results only work environment (a.k.a. ROWE) a few months back and decided to look further into this workplace option. After taking some time to research it, I decided that I really enjoyed the concept and wondered if this option could work for certain companies and/or employees if they gave it a shot.

ROWE was created by Best Buy’s former HR managers, Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson (now of CultureRx). The idea of this concept was to allow managers to focus more on results rather than the hours the employees are checking in. After all, the company’s success is dependent on the results. After tweaking it a few times, these HR managers found that productivity levels had risen. The freedom that this provided seemed to tap into employees’ natural intrinsic quality which empowered them to be more accountable and productive.

Here are some reasons why employees love ROWE:

  • Freedom to work when and where they want.
  • They spend less time unnecessarily sitting at an office to meet the required 40 hours.
  • They can work at a faster pace.
  • They have unlimited vacation and PTO.
  • They can make themselves available to participate in hobbies and events that take place during typical business hours.
  • They can spend more time with friends, family, and children.
  • They have more flexible time to go to doctors’ appointments and so on.
  • They can work during hours that they’re feeling productive rather than forcing themselves to have motivation during hours they aren’t.
  • A bad night of sleep doesn’t need to affect the quality of their work- they can work later in the day after they’re feeling rested.
  • It gives work meaning because the time they spend is specifically to get tasks done and achieve results.
  • Better work-life balance.
  • Decreased expenses: no need for gas to get to work or to pay for daycare or babysitters.

It seems like the list is endless, but those are just to name a few. Even though I’ve never dealt with this kind of work environment, I do believe in its benefits because I chose this option for school. During the course of obtaining my BSBA, I decided to choose the online and/or alternative classes that my school had to offer. It made more sense to me because sitting in classes after sitting at work all day didn’t seem appealing. Additionally, I was planning on moving out of NJ so I did not want to potentially lose credits and time by transferring schools. After completing my first “alternative” class, I realized that I loved it and couldn’t fathom going back to traditional classes again.

Alternative classes allowed me to have the flexibility to be more productive with my school work. Instead of wasting time and holding me back to a specific scheduled class, I was able to move at my own pace. At the start of each semester, I was able to see what the modules were, what the assignments were, and when they were due. This allowed me to schedule my life better and took away some of the stress I had when working full-time and going to school. I could work school around my life, as long as I got the assignments in on time.

Perhaps it’s because I have a type A personality, but this option worked well for me. I learned to do my assignments at least a week in advance to take off some of the pressure I used to feel when I was given assignments at the last minute. There was even one semester where I finished all my assignments within the first couple weeks just so I could give myself a mental break. Life tends to throw curve balls at you and things can unexpectedly come up, therefore, it was nice to at least have some control over this major responsibility. I loved the benefits and freedom that came with this option and felt that I was more productive and happier. I’m sure these feelings are similar to what the ROWE employees are feeling, as well. It gives them a more time to actually live life.

Will ROWE work for every company, every job function, and every employee?  Unfortunately, no. But this option can still work for a good amount of them. If you decide to test out this alternative work environment, be sure to help train employees going through the transition on time management and reaching results. I believe that even employees that aren’t the most self-driven will eventually learn to be more productive on their own once they see the benefits and rewards of getting their job done more efficiently.

Links about ROWE:

CultureRx.

The End of 9 to 5.

Fistful of Talent- 80hrs Per Week VS. ROWE.

CBS: What is Results Only Work Environment?

WilsonHCG.