Memorial Day marks the unofficial start to summer, and many of our thoughts turn to BBQ’s, family fun, and vacation. Because of this, last week’s Nightly Business Report on Americans and vacation was disturbing. The Glassdoor statistics cited were:
- The average worker used just half of vacation in the past year
- 1 in 3 used less than 25% of their paid time off in the last year
- Two-thirds worked during time off
Did you know that not taking time off negatively affects employee morale, creativity and even your health? Vacations reduce stress, which as we all know can create health problems. A 1948 study found that men who skipped vacation for several years increased their odds of having a heart attack by 30%.
Why don’t employees take vacation? Fear. Fear of falling behind in their work, fear of being a burden to their teams, to name a few.
What’s especially troubling is what these statistics say about Americans as leaders. it says that we have created a climate of fear that prevents our teams from taking benefits that are part of their compensation package. It says that we are more invested in the bottom line than we are in the welfare of people that help to make us successful.
What can we do about it? As leaders, we should be helping members of our teams to understand that taking vacation is part of self-care. We should also be helping team members to figure out how work can be covered in their absence, so that they can take time off. This is not to say that each employee has a responsibility for leaving matters in good order prior to their absence so that work can be covered by others.
Vacations are also good for enhancing internal controls. When an employee is truly away for at least one consecutive week, irregularities can come to light. While none of us believes that our teams are susceptible to bad behavior, experience has taught me that it is a possibility. Many states require employees in sensitive positions in some industries to take specified time off to enhance internal controls.
Nevertheless as leaders, it is up to us to articulate an expectation and to model good behavior in this regard. Not only will your team be grateful, it is likely that they will be less stressed out and better engaged. Who doesn’t need a better engaged team?
QUESTION: How do you ensure that your team can take vacation that is part of their compensation?
Leadership/Career Coach Kris Ishibashi works with leaders to bring together their skills, their authentic selves, and their intentions to inspire their organizations to superior performance. Click here to set up a complimentary consultation.