— September 6, 2017
You’d think hard-working people wouldn’t need to be told twice to take a vacation—but you’d be surprised. According to some studies, American workers leave more than half their vacation days on the table. That’s a real problem, because it means workers aren’t taking the time they need to refresh themselves and to invest in their mental health. In very real and harmful ways, this lack of proper vacationing can rear its head in the workplace.
As a leader, it’s important that you encourage your employees to do what’s best for their own mental and physical health. That means motivating them to actually use those vacation days, whether they go to the beach or just take a day to chill out at home. The question is, what can leaders do to motivate their employees in this way?
Encouraging Employees to Use Vacation Time
Lead by example. First and foremost, you need to use your own vacation days—especially during summer and during the holiday season, when it’s most helpful for your team members to step out and clear their heads a bit. Be the change you want to see! Take a vacation!
Educate your employees. Show them the effects of burnout and stress. Bring in some statistics, or even a guest speaker who can attest to the need for vacation time. Let them see how important it really is.
Create some slow seasons. During the summer, try to lighten the workload a bit and shift the focus to things like marketing or strategic planning—internal activities where you can more easily spare a few employees to vacation.
Offer remote work solutions. This isn’t really a vacation, but if nothing else, you can encourage employees to work from home or from a coffee shop from time to time. A simple change of scenery, while not the same as actual vacation time, can still be meaningful.
Provide flexible scheduling options. During summer, in particular—when kids are home from school—your employees might appreciate the chance to work more flexible hours in order to accommodate their family life.
Create a team calendar. Something as simple and accessible as a Google calendar, shared by all employees, makes it easy for people to see when others are planning vacations—perhaps encouraging them to do likewise!
Vacation time isn’t frivolous. It’s a real investment in your team—so help them to use it wisely!