Not all employees jump at the chance to take their annual leave for various reasons, including fear of falling behind at work or disappointing their manager. However, employees who take adequate time to rest make for a healthy business and taking leave should be encouraged. Here’s why:
Stress and fatigue busting
By taking a break, employees get a chance to re-energise mind and body. Writing for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Lisa Frye notes how “research consistently shows the health benefits of taking vacation time, like improved productivity, lower stress and better mental health.” Eliminate the fear of returning to an overflowing ‘in’ tray by arranging with other team members to help alleviate the absent employee’s workload. Highlight the fact that this system is rotational so everyone feels their turn will come.
Increased productivity and creativity
A rested mind and body boosts productivity and creativity – and allows employees to approach tasks with better perspective and a fresh mindset. Recognise hard work and targets met by offering incentives that extend annual leave (bonus leave days). Giving an extra annual leave day on an employee’s birthday or offering a half day for overtime worked highlights the importance of taking time off to recharge.
Decline in absenteeism
Encouraging employees to take annual leave is also linked to individual and business well-being. A healthy and happy employee is less likely to be absent on an ongoing basis. Stipulate a date by which employees should use their leave, reminding them to book for busy periods like school or summer holidays in advance to ensure they get their rest at the most opportune time. Consider closing shop during a major holiday period, if possible, encouraging all employees to take leave at that time.
More highs than lows
Recharging promotes a positive outlook toward new projects and challenges. Moreover, this positivity is often infectious and can be felt throughout the business if all employees can rest and regain the energy they need. Instil a holiday-friendly atmosphere by responding positively when an employee applies for leave. They’re less likely to apply for leave if they feel it’s frowned upon or ‘subtly’ discouraged.
A well organised leave process teaches employees and employers to prioritise effectively. With a common goal in mind, both parties put in the required effort to make things work. Cut the red tape – if your employees have to jump through hoops to get leave, like filling out extensive forms, providing three months notice or waiting on and phoning HR for confirmation, it becomes time-consuming and irritating. Keeping an organised and efficient system with instant reply is best.
It’s important to keep an eye on your employees’ workload, to ensure they have enough time to meet their responsibilities and take their full annual leave. A happy team is more engaged and likely to view their jobs as meaningful work that can be pursued for the long term.
Of course, it’s also worthwhile to ensure that the office environment itself is relatively stress-free. This can be achieved by creating spaces in which employees can take a short break from work, and installing facilities that make work easier. Examples include modern internet connectivity solutions like WiFi and fibre internet.