Employees in the U.S are notorious for not taking enough time off. In 2018, workers left 768 million vacations days unused, according to a study by the U.S. Travel Association. While having employees show up to work every day can seem like a benefit for a business, there are some ways in which a refusal to take time off can be harmful. Without enough rest, employees lose productivity and become disengaged.
But would requiring people to take a break actually help your company? The companies that have institute required paid-time-off or company-wide shutdowns have noted improvements in productivity and a reduction in burnout levels. Take a look at some benefits of mandatory time off and some challenges such a policy could create.
Pro: Requires Employees to Take a Break
A considerable benefit of requiring paid time off is that it requires people to step away from their work for a while. If your business institutes a company-wide shutdown, then employees are really forced to take a break. They can’t sneak in work emails when they’re supposed to be relaxing on the beach or pop into a Slack chat when they’re supposed to in another country, as no one else will be in the office.
Taking time away from a project or from work, in general, can help your team come back to the office refreshed and rejuvenated. They might look at old problems with fresh eyes, have new ideas for products, or be ready to tackle what’s next.
Con: Can Make Scheduling a Challenge
Depending on how you implement a mandatory paid-time-off policy, scheduling can become an issue. If you decide to let people take their time off whenever they’d like, then the people remaining on the job will need to ensure there’s enough coverage when others are away. That can become an issue, particularly if multiple people want to take the same weeks off.
One way to manage the scheduling challenge is to have employees in a department sign up for particular weeks off. Set a policy so that no more than a certain number of people can request off during the same period. You can let people choose their time off periods by seniority or have a first-come, first-served policy.
Another option is to have everyone take the same time off and to close the company down for a week or two each year.
Pro: Can Help With Recruitment
Work-life balance has become more and more of a concern for employees in recent years. It’s a feature many people look for when they search for new opportunities. A mandatory time-off policy can make your company look more attractive to top candidates. Requiring time off sends a message to job-seekers that you value your employees’ time and happiness. Introducing the policy can help you find and hire the best of the best, which can lead to increased productivity and growth.
Con: Would Need to be Enforced
While some employees are going to love and embrace the mandatory paid-time-off policy, others might be more hesitant to get onboard. You’d have to decide what to do about people who refuse to take the required time off. The management team might find itself spending more time than it would like tracking down the people who aren’t taking time off and gently nudging them to do so.
Pro: Shines a Light on Who is Doing What
Sometimes, you don’t know how valuable an employee is until they take some time away. Requiring people to take at least a week off each year can show you which employees are really going the extra mile for the company and which ones are coasting. That information can help you decide who to promote or who to give a positive annual review to. If your company has to lay people off, knowing who’s doing the most work and who isn’t can help you make fair decisions about whom to let go.
A team that’s has had a chance to relax and rest is a team that’s likely going to be able to tackle problems and propel your company toward growth. If you’re ready to take your business to the next level and need assistance developing a strategy to do so, New Direction Capital’s team of virtual CFOs can help. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you grow your business.