Portrait of a happy young family having fun at the beach

Encourage your employees to take vacation

Two thirds of Canadians don’t take all their vacation time and more than a quarter take less than half. Some believe taking vacation will impact how they’re perceived at work, that they’re not committed. They may fear they’ll have too much extra work when they get back, or feel guilty that a colleague will have to cover for them. For others, vacation planning itself can create more stress, negating the whole point of the vacation.

However, burnout is a real consequence for employees who don’t switch off or disconnect from work. They may still complete their tasks, but maybe not to their full potential.

When you actively encourage your employees to use their vacation time, you can:

  • increase their creativity, productivity and quality of work
  • improve their personal well-being and health through rest and reconnecting with family
  • show them that their health is important to the company
  • help build a positive culture to retain and attract employees

How to build a vacation-friendly culture

  • Be an example. Make sure your leaders are setting an example and taking vacation. If they don’t, employees may feel like they shouldn’t either if they want to get ahead
  • Build agile teams. Cross-train teams so that several people can effectively cover the work while a teammate is away.
  • Clear the way. Ask employees to delegate tasks before they leave to ensure they’re looked after.
  • Set vacation-friendly policies. Communicate and enforce policies that don’t allow people to check emails or take their work devices with them on vacation. If they’re answering emails the whole time, their minds will never really switch off.
  • Offer lieu time. According to a recent study, people put in an average of 11.4 extra hours of work before and after vacations to compensate for their time away. Consider building in additional lieu time for employees if they feel they need to pay this “time-off tax”.