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07/10/2023

Out of office

Encouraging vacations can increase productivity and job satisfaction for your c/gas employees.
Pamela Patry
Occupational health and safety consultant, Workplace Safety & Prevention Services
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 Young woman relaxing on beach, ocean view, Vacation Outdoors Seascape Concept

Summer is here and vacation planning for you and your staff is in full effect. Or at least it should be.

Vacations are more than just about taking a break from work; it’s about taking a break from the grind; and the routine and stress that comes with it.
Sadly, according to Canadian HR Reporter, only 29% of Canadian workers used all their allotted vacation time in 2022. This statistic is concerning because we know that when employees do not take time for themselves away from work, it often leads to presenteeism and burnout. In contrast, when employees take vacation, the mental health benefits are clear.

Afterall, this is time that you’ve earned, and when you return, you’ll be rested, rejuvenated and better equipped to perform your job.

Plus, you don’t need to take an extended vacation to experience the benefits. If it’s not practical for you to be away for a full week, take one vacation day mid-week to break up your routine. A long weekend every now and then can also be a good way to disconnect.

So, with all the benefits, why wouldn’t someone take a vacation?

There are many reasons, including but not limited too: heavy workloads or concerns about job security. To avoid this, employers need to create a workplace where vacation time is genuinely encouraged.

Here are some tips on how to create a supportive culture

Walk the talk and lead by example. Most employees, especially new ones, look to their managers and co-workers to learn standard practices. When employees see their managers take regular vacation time, they know that they can too!

Ensure your support for vacation is known. Employees may feel uncomfortable requesting time off.

Check in with them if you haven’t yet received vacation requests. Ask them if they plan on taking time.

Let them know you’re open to the idea and look forward to hearing their plans.

Give permission to disconnect. Employees legally have a right to disconnect; however, some may still feel uncomfortable doing so, especially if employees see the opposite (e.g., co-workers not taking
vacation or negative comments made about someone who does). Ensure you talk positively about someone’s upcoming plans and celebrate an employee’s return.

Plan for proper coverage. Genuinely promoting vacation requires more than verbal encouragement. Managers need to help ensure that a plan is in place to cover responsibilities while employees are away.

If employees find that they are having to work long hours to catch up when they return, they will become reluctant to take time off in the future.

Foster trust, so employees feel comfortable being away. Some employees may not like the idea of handing over their work to someone else, even for a short period of time. It could cause some anxiety around job security if they have had negative experiences in the past. Avoid this by creating a supportive work environment where employees always feel valued, engaged, and part of the team.

And for those workplaces without contracted vacation days, consider giving your staff time off when requested. Everyone has activities and events they want to participate in. Providing them with this opportunity will produce the same positive benefits for their well-being and your business.

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