During the height of the pandemic, stress and burnout increased, while overall well-being decreased. Also, employees took less vacation/personal time off, exacerbating these. Increased hybrid work blurred the lines between work and home. Even when employees do take time off, it isn’t as relaxing as it used to be due to technology allowing us to be “always on”. It is all too easy to check email and complete quick-task requests.
Companies have tried to solve this issue in varying ways. One approach that some have tried is a company-wide shut-down for a week which forces employees to disconnect and reduces the guilt of enjoying their time off, since no one is working. Employees return re-energized and excited to share vacation stories from their shared time away.
Another approach companies are taking to encourage employees to take vacations is a pause or removal of “use it or lose it” policies. The thought behind this policy is it forces employees to take time off instead of accruing a large amount of PTO. However, it can create large absences at the end of the year, which tends to the busy season. Allowing for a set number of roll-over vacation days should alleviate the flood of vacation requests in the last months of the year. An alternative to the “use it or lose it” policy is an unlimited PTO policy. Studies show that most employees do not take advantage of this policy, and actually need pressure to take days off. This may lead back to the original issue of employees not taking enough time off.
If you want help to strike a balance with your PTO policies, contact us.