When an employee applies for time off is it considered a luxury? If juggling tasks while they’re away seems like a huge inconvenience, it’s time to consider the bright side of vacation time – and why it’s worth offering extra days.
“I applaud organizations for moving in that direction because there are some benefits not only at the individual but also in the organizational,” Royal Roads Associate Professor Carolin Rekar Munro said. “But it also means creating a culture where it is acceptable, expected and encouraged for people to take time off because we’ve created a culture of workaholics.”
The upside of downtime:
- Rest and recharge
Vacation gives people time to recharge their batteries. “The boundaries between work and home are breaking down and that wears people down. We need that time to re-energize,” Munro, part of the university’s Intellectual Lead, Leadership and Human Resources team, said. “It’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity.”
- Overall KPI improvements
“Top indicators around absenteeism, disability claims, job performance, turnover and benefit usage can all be maintained or improved as a result of supporting employees in their vacation decisions,” Munro said.
- Stressing us out
Two-thirds of Canadians report high levels of stress, which can be reduced by increased time off.
- Ideal Performance State
Psychologists compare work life to world-class athletes who have to find a balance between expending energy and recovery time.
- Immune issues
Stress and overwork are linked to immune system failures, leading to illness, hypertension and sleep disorders as well as maladaptive coping strategies such as substance abuse.
- Absence minded
Increase illness means increased absenteeism. Canadian businesses lose 19 million days of productivity a year, totally up to $6 billion.
- Quantity and quality
After eight hours of work productivity drops, while error rates and accidents increase so how much downtime your employees get has a direct impact on your health and safety record and disability claims.
- High performer heaven
A 2006 study from Ernst & Young found that employees who took vacation time more often had higher performance reviews. Munro suggested those employees were less likely to be exhausted and stressed, so they could focus on their jobs.
- Good reaction
People who take regular vacations have reaction times that are higher by an impressive 30-40%, which is especially relevant for those working in manufacturing, construction or in a role that requires a lot of driving.
- I’ll take creative juice in my mimosa
People get in ruts, we all know what it’s like, but the good news is that a change in routine and location can boost creativity and innovation so your team member on vacay might just come home with a bold new idea.
- Gen Y approved
Millennials are notoriously choosey about employers, but extra vacation time and a culture of accepting the necessity of time off are likely to attract top young talent.
- Retaining the best
“Employees are less likely to leave an organization if they know vacation time is there for them and they’re encouraged to take them,” Munro said.
Some companies offer extra days that have caveats, such as taking it in summer when business slows down or over Christmas if that’s a slower period for your company. While it’s not always feasible to give everyone an extra week, there are lots of ways to fit a generous vacation policy into your organizational culture.
Read more: Canadians losing out on vacation time