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I’ve just returned from a fantastic holiday! Family time in the sun and a chance to re-fuel following a ‘full on and busy’ first month at EST!

Since getting back into the full swing of HR duties, it got me thinking that ‘SUMMER IS ALMOST HERE!’. The time when employees either start going on that well deserved holiday, start thinking about booking time off or start worrying about booking the time off….” Who will cover my workload”? and the worry of “Will I come back to double the amount of work”?

RHEven those employees who do take a holiday or time off are still constantly connected to work whether it be on their laptops, tablets or smartphones. Employees will take at least one of these appliances with them and will, at the very least, check emails and reply to them. They are never fully switched off from work. A study from jobs website ‘Glassdoor’ shows that the average UK employee uses only 77% of their annual leave and almost half say they carry out some work while on holiday.

You may feel that staying connected to your employees whilst they are on holiday or employees not taking holiday is a win-win situation for you. You think that having staff present in the company and always switched on to your needs increases productivity, right? The reality is the opposite.

Studies show that if staff are not making use of their holiday entitlement and not fully switching off from work during this time, it can be detrimental to your business in the long run. Staff will become ‘burnt out’ and eventually demotivated. Where jobs are demanding and stressful, staff can eventually end up making themselves ill, meaning increased sick leave.

Costs can further increase with the rate of staff turnover. People are often looking for a job that allows them to have a healthy work life balance and if your business does not offer this for them, they will move on to somewhere that does. This can result in valued and experienced staff leaving and lots of time spent on training new staff.

It really is a win-win situation for your business to allow employees to use their holiday entitlement. Taking ‘paid time off’ work allows employees to recharge their batteries and return to the workplace refocused and re-energised! They leave those stresses of the workplace behind them for a few days /weeks and return much more positive and motivated, which in turn increases productivity for your business.

So, here is a summary of my top tips for business owners to better manage holiday;

Plan Ahead

Start encouraging your staff to get their holiday requests in as early as possible. You could do this easily by sending out a friendly email. If you have the luxury of a holiday portal, direct staff to this and encourage them to submit their holiday requests (to be approved by you/your managers of course!)

By planning ahead it allows you the business owner/director/manager to put together a plan of action for the year. Everyone has a life outside work, but that doesn’t mean that the running of your business has to suffer. Think about whether those holiday requests clash with any major deadline, projects or events. This also benefits the employee as they are able to plan ahead, put in extra time if need be or working out who will cover their workload whilst they away from work.

Delegate to the Team

If you have supervisors or line managers within your company, pass the responsibility to them to monitor, track and approve holiday requests. Ask them to remind staff regularly of their remaining holiday balance to avoid any holiday entitlement being lost.

Implement a Holiday Procedure

To ensure standards of expectation are communicated to employees, you should look to devise a simple holiday policy. The policy can explain important issues around how employees request holiday and when they may not be able to take time off due to busy periods for the business.

Incentivise!

You can look at other ways to incentivise employees by encouraging them to reach targets, complete projects or excel in performance in return for benefits such as ‘leaving the office an hour early or a half day’. This is a great reminder to your employees of both the benefits of working hard and the importance of taking personal time off.

Taking time off is vital for business owners, managers and employees well-being and mental health. By encouraging your workforce to take their holidays, you will benefit in the long run as a well-rested employee is a much more productive and happier employee!

Sources
https://www.glassdoor.co.uk/blog/uk-employees-losing-quarter-annual-leave-glassdoor-uk-annual-leave-survey-2014-2/