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How to Make Vacation Less Stressful

by Tim AustinAugust 30, 2016 8:00 AM

Paid time off (PTO) is a powerful tool to help employees stay refreshed and motivated. Unfortunately, the prospect of falling behind on projects or being hit by a deluge of missed emails can be more terrifying than a prolonged visit with your in-laws.

Employees shouldn’t be afraid to take PTO, whether it’s due to potential workplace stress or a fear to take time off. Here are three ways that your business can make vacations less stressful for employees.

Image of a frustrated employee. Help releive stress with open PTO policies for your workplace.

Make it Known that Vacations are Good

Refreshed, focused employees are more productive than burnt-out workers. The occasional vacation gives employees a chance to recharge their proverbial batteries, but American workers don’t always take advantage of this benefit. However, not all employees feel comfortable using their PTO.

A survey from Project: Time Off shows that over half of American workers had unused vacation days last year. That same survey reported that 22 percent of people felt that using their vacation time made them seem replaceable. Nervous, overworked employees aren’t going to be able to give you their best. Make sure that you have a very clear, open policy about taking time off and encourage workers to use their PTO days. That way your employees won’t be too worried to take a well-deserved break.

Vacation Preparation Time

Even if employees aren’t worried about asking to use vacation time, they might be afraid of what will happen if they leave for a week. Roughly 37 percent of employees are afraid that nobody will do their work while they’re away on vacation. Another 30 percent are concerned that nobody else could do their job.

Proper vacation planning can help mitigate these fears and set your business up for success. Help employees decide which tasks can be handled by other employees while they’re gone. Set up a direct backup employee who can answer questions while an employee is gone. It’s also good to block off some time so that a vacationing employee can catch up on everything instead of rushing straight back to their regular work.

Protect Your Business from Problematic Vacation Requests

Vacations can cause problems for business owners as well. An impromptu mental health day here and there isn’t a big deal, but last-minute vacation requests can mess up work flows and deadlines. 

A good PTO policy should set guidelines for how far in advance employees need to request time off. This will help protect your business from sudden departures and give employees fair notice why you have to turn down a request without ample notice.

Have a PTO Policy in Place

Employees get a set amount of PTO days for a reason. Group Management Services can help your business set up a clear PTO policy that will keep track of used PTO days and streamline vacation requests. Contact GMS today about employee benefits administration and how a PTO policy will make your vacation process a lot less stressful.

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