As we return from our company's week of vacation, we are focused on the impact of PTO and vacation time on employees' productivity and health. It's worth the time to understand what PTO policy is best for your organization and how to encourage your employees to find a healthy work-life balance.
At small businesses this summer, many owners won't be trying to figure out whether employees will be counting it as vacation time, personal days or sick leave when they send texts or emails that say, "I'm not coming in today."
A growing number of companies combine vacation and sick time into one bucket called paid time off, or PTO. Staffers decide whether they're going to use the days for vacation, when they or a relative is ill, or for family events.
"You're saying to staffers, it's PTO, just take it. If you have a sick kid, need a personal day, you're really stressed out," says Gretchen Van Vlymen, a vice president at StratEx, an HR consulting firm based in Chicago.
Forty-three percent of companies offered PTO in 2016, up from 28% in 2002, according to a report from World at Work, an association of human resources professionals. The report said 51% of private companies, which would include small and mid-size businesses, offered PTO last year. The report was based on a survey of the organization's members.
Too often, such generous policies come with a catch—or five. If your staffers can’t freely flee the workaday world, it’s not much of a vacation, is it? Perhaps a different approach makes sense.
Unlimited vacation time. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? You get all the time off you want, but what’s the catch?
Of course, the business has to be in good standing—as a collective, the goals are being exceeded, and it’s making money, and, as an individual, you have to exceed your goals. If those things happen, you can have all the time off that you want.
It’s a perk many startups use to lure talented performers away from competitors. It’s one we offer. It turns out, there is an even bigger catch: Unlimited vacation time means you have to work during your holiday(s).
Americans are notoriously bad when it comes to taking time off from work, with more than half leaving vacation time unused. The 55% of U.S. workers who did not take any day off from work left a record-setting 658 million vacation days unused, resulting in $61.4 in annual forfeited benefits.
Research shows that vacations are crucial for employees’ mental and physical health, as well as for overall productivity and performance. Yet most Americans don’t take time off, citing fear of a heavy workload when returning and the fact there is no one else in the office who can replace them while away.
As a business owner, you need to make sure your employees aren’t overworked by encouraging them to take breaks from work and creating the right environment for them to do so. Below, 12 members of Forbes Coaches Council offer their best tips on how to avoid employee burnout and maintain or even increase productivity by getting your team to take time off this summer.
You should be nice, but not a doormat. I received the following email from a reader:
All of our employees (exempt & non-exempt) receive vacation time. We have an issue with how some of our exempt employees report their vacation hours. If they answer (literally) an email or a phone call while on vacation, they consider that day a "working day" and do not use their vacation time.
I can find a lot of information regarding deducting pay from an exempt employee, but not regarding deducting vacation time. Your employees are acting like they've found the brilliant loophole of vacation time. Spend 3 minutes every day reading an email and they never have to come into work again. Brilliant!
Except, that's not how this works.
Everyone should be able to take time off for self-care. Normally when one asks for a sick day, the reason is usually for a physical illness, such as a cold, or the flu.
But when we're having a bad day mentally, whether it's related to stress, anxiety, or depression, we have a hard time asking for time off because there are no designated sick days for mental illness. And that's a problem. However, one employee and her boss have gone viral for shedding light on the importance of asking for a sick day to take care of one's mental health.
Madalyn Parker, a web developer at Olark, recently took a couple days off work, explaining in an email that she needed to "focus on my mental health."
Olark's CEO replied to her email, and his response surprised her — in a good way.
Do you have news or insight about employer branding, talent or culture to share? Want us to include it in our monthly update? Contact us below.