Switching off when you’re off

holidays6Employees should be encouraged to keep work off the agenda when on holiday. Their bodies may be in Barbados, but that’s no good if there heads still in the office. One in three employees are guilty of not using up their annual leave and the fear of falling behind is enough to keep them in the office whilst away.

Taking a holiday is important for both staff and businesses, so as an employer, you need to ensure that your employees are taking adequate breaks from work. Employees who fail to take adequate time off are in danger of fatigue, burnout and reduced productivity.

There are a few simple steps you can take to make sure staff are using their time to relax and recharge.

Encourage annual leave
Firstly, as discussed, it’s important to encourage annual leave. To do this you need to foster a positive message and attitude towards holidays. Engraining it in to the company culture will help employees feel less guilty about taking time off.

Educate employees
It’s important to home in on the importance of taking annual leave too. Discussing how the burnout and tiredness can affect work and productivity will help employers empathise with staff.

Add holidays as an incentive
You could also use annual leave as an incentive for reaching targets, this will help reassure staff that taking time out is a good thing. For example, you could offer staff the chance to acquire more holidays throughout the year; at Salary Exchange we have an ‘Employee of the Quarter’ policy where staff will nominate colleagues who they feel have stood out for the past 3 months. Managers then discuss the nominees and decide on an employee of the quarter. This employee then receives an additional days leave to use.

Pick out repeat offenders
Keeping track of your employees’ annual leave will allow you to pick out any repeat offenders and remind them that they should be using their holiday allowance. Sending out an email reminder periodically could prompt staff to book their time out.

For those who are particularly adverse to taking a break, holding a face to face meeting and wishing them a happy holiday would be enough to reassure them it’s okay to take time off. It might even help them unwind and relax!

Put simple processes in place
Applying for holidays should be as easy as applying sun cream, and employees maybe put of by the mere thought of paperwork and chasing down senior staff for approval. Making this process smooth and stress free will ensure staff don’t defer from booking holidays. A good idea is to clearly communicate the process and nominate people responsible for organising annual leave.

Handovers
Ensuring handover processes are in place will give employees the confidence that their work won’t be piling up when they return. This can be achieved through team meetings, a simple email or both, this informs the team of what needs to be done. Similarly, activating out of office responses to emails will ensure staff relax in the knowing their urgent requests are being picked up by another team member.

Offer more holidays
A holiday scheme is a fantastic scheme that really appeals to staff looking to take extra time off. Employees pay for extra days from their gross salary over a set period. This makes buying additional leave more affordable as the cost is spread. Salary Exchange can help you set up a holiday scheme if you’re looking to offer your workforce more time off.

The reality is that some employees will find it easier to switch off than others, so as a company you should ensure that your staff are taking sufficient breaks to recharge their batteries. Everyone is entitled to time off (including the boss!) and it’s important to take a positive approach towards annual leave, making it a solid part of your company culture.

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