How To Encourage Your Employees To Take Time Off
Increasing workloads can make it challenging for your staff to take time off. However, breaks benefit employee well-being, happiness, and efficiency. Even with effective wellness strategies in an organization, workplaces may still appear stressful and demanding. If left unaddressed, this can lead to burnout and stress, which can take a hit on employee mental health. Thankfully, you can avoid these issues and boost workforce productivity by scheduling routine breaks for workdays and annual leaves. Here are some practical ways to achieve this.
Create vacation reminders
Organizations can implement “use or lose it” vacation policies to encourage their employees to take time off. However, If you permit workers to roll over their unused vacation, consider motivating them by highlighting the benefits of taking a break. Another strategy is to ask them to share their vacation experiences with coworkers. Fun-filled moments can inspire others to leverage annual leave opportunities. Any break counts, no matter how short or long it is. A weekend camping adventure, for instance, can be as awesome as a day on a sunny beach. Staycations have become a popular way to make the most of off days, so consider creating reminders for your team to spend time off near their homes or explore new places within driving distance.
Develop a system to equally distribute the workload
One major reason that prevents many workers from observing breaks is a strict work timeline. When new tasks keep piling up during their leave, they may struggle to get back on track, leading to more stress. Therefore, you need to discuss with employees and develop a system that helps distribute workload, ensuring business can go on even if everyone is not available. You can leverage automation tools to streamline some processes to ease the workload on employees, so feel free to consider this. Employee working shifts are also something you want to prioritize.
Fortunately, a system like the 2 2 3 work schedule can help balance out long work hours by giving all employees regular two- or three-day periods off and distributing night shifts. It ensure workers will always have a week in which they work only five days, followed by another in which they work only two days. The 2-2-3 system is recommended for situations that require organizations to maintain a certain volume of employee staffing at all times. Police services, firefighters, and emergency health workers often use it to encourage time off and provide a prompt and effective response to potential critical cases. Several private businesses have also adopted this schedule to provide support for their customer base and promote time off.
- Practice what you preach
Managers can promote time off by speaking about it in meetings and demonstrating their support for the habit. Some employees may feel guilty about going away, so make it your responsibility to let them understand that your business supports work-life balance. Leaders should act as role models in taking time off. Therefore, avoid sending emails to those who are on a break, as practicing what you preach can go a long way to improve your company’s work-life balance culture.
Include vacation leaves in annual performance reviews
Another proven technique to is to add vacation leave to your annual performance reviews. This makes you accountable for managing workflow in a way that allows your team to recharge and benefit from work-life balance. If your workers are prone to working themselves to exhaustion, try to link part of the performance bonus to vacation leaves. They are likelier to relax for a few days is it is mandatory, so keep this in mind.
Encourage workers to take a digital detox
Although it’s not technically a day off, digital detox can be equally beneficial. Motivating your team to undergo this process is an easy way to help them unplug and boost focus, so feel free to consider this. Even if your business doesn’t provide paid time off, encouraging your employees to disconnect from their phones and computers for a few days can benefit their mental health and productivity. You can achieve this goal through different techniques. For example, offer incentives like discounts on gift cards for unplugging. Also, consider creating an official “no phone zone” at the workplace during specific times of the day. This is a designated area in your office where employees can visit when they need to take a break away from their electronics.
- Create breaks
Another important thing you can do is to provide breaks. It helps to schedule these smartly such that they don’t interfere with other company events like annual meetings and retreats. Company breaks may allow everyone in your team to have a chance to relax, recharge, and bond with their friends. Employers can help employees make the most out of time off by scheduling these days not for their personal convenience. It’s also worth noting that this policy will apply to those work remotely from the offices. This will create equal opportunities for everyone to make smart decisions on how to spend their free time outside of work hours.
Equip employees with tools that help them unplug from work
If taking time off is challenging for your team, try to equip them with tools that make it easier to unplug. Employees who constantly stay connected to their colleagues and the office are more likely to feel they must be available at their desks to reply to emails and pick up calls. One strategy to inspire your employees to step away from their desks is to create a list of fun activities or exciting locations nearby that are ideal for relaxation. You can also offer tips on how they can maximize vacation experiences. For example, you can ask them to consider turning off phone notifications to avoid distractions.
Create out-of-office replies
In some cases, employees struggle to take time off because of work-related distractions such as emails. To avoid this, encourage your team to set up an out-of-office communication system (replies) that aids relaxation. Out-of-office replies should specify when an employee will be away and for how long. They should also contain messages that indicate they are not available during a time. For instance, if a worker is going on vacation next week but has to respond to messages while away, they can set up an auto-reply that says, “I’m currently unavailable until January 5th. You can reach me via an alternate contact…Hoping to hear from you soon.”
Employees need to take some time off once in a while to refresh their mind and body. Therefore, find a way to make them feel they are getting enough rest, eating well, staying fit, and having fun. One strategy to do this is to throw mini-vacations. This could mean scheduling an extra day off on Mondays or Fridays. Employees can use this window of opportunity to embark on a weekend getaway with friends and family. If your business cannot afford extended vacations, use mini vacations as a means to recharge their batteries without heavily sacrificing any work hours.
Get help from your HR department
Task your human resources department with the task of encouraging employees to enjoy vacations. These professionals can convince workers to take periodic breaks to recharge and come back happier and more productive.
Be a great believer in reviving engines by allowing employees to change up the scenery and get a fresh outlook on life. You can lead by example by disconnecting from the office and embarking on your adventures on a quarterly basis.