Spring Break in the office: Encourage employees to relax and recharge
How to help your team members take time away from the office
With ever-changing office technologies, employees are often just a phone call, text message or email away from work, making true vacation time feel unattainable. In fact, according to the U.S. Travel Association, Americans left 768 million vacation days unused in 2018.
To help employees rest and recharge, managers should employ the following tips to encourage team members to take time away from the office and spend time with their family and friends.
Walk the talk
Leadership starts at the top. If company leaders do not make vacation a priority for themselves, employees may feel pressured to avoid time away from the office. When managers plan to utilize paid time off (PTO), they should communicate plans to employees, encouraging them to do the same. This may help reduce the guilt that some team members feel when they consider taking time off to recharge or to spend time with family. Additionally, while on vacation, managers should set an example by staying off email and away from other work-related communications.
Set clear expectations
Consider explicitly stating in the organization’s PTO policy that the company endorses a healthy work-life balance and encourage team members to take time away from work. In addition, managers should periodically communicate the company’s PTO policy throughout the year to remind employees of the available benefits. Underscoring that work-life balance is fundamental to the company’s culture and reminding employees of the policies in place may help them feel more comfortable taking time away from the office.
Support team members
When preparing to return to work, team members may feel overwhelmed by an avalanche of emails, to-do lists and meetings that have piled up during their time away. To help ease this concern, managers can work with employees to establish a plan prior to their PTO, which brings other team members into the loop on any ongoing projects to help ensure they continue to run smoothly. This can help employees rest while away and ease the post-vacation transition to normal office life. Reserving the first day back for catch-up, instead of back-to-back meetings that will keep team members away from their desks, can help avoid the dread that may accompany the end of a vacation.
When employees are happy, they may be more productive and engaged, which can positively impact a company’s bottom line. Managers who are supportive of PTO and communicate the benefits of taking time to recharge may see benefits to their employees, teams and the organization as a whole.
Heather Lopez is the manager of HR services at Insperity.