How to help employees actually have a holiday

by Nicola Middlemiss19 Jun 2015
With the official start of summer just days away, many of your employees will begin taking time off for annual vacations – but one new survey suggests your workers might not be making the most of their much-needed R&R period.

The survey, conducted by Redshift Research on behalf of CareerBuilder Canada, found that 30% of Canadians regularly check their work emails while on vacation.

“Some workers have a harder time than others checking out completely,” said Mark Bania, managing director of CareerBuilder Canada. “That can cause more stress than not going on vacation at all,” he added.

To add to that, almost one third of workers (32%) admit they’ve return from a holiday in the past to find so much work has accumulated that they wish they’d never gone.

According to the survey, just 74% of employees are expecting to take a vacation this year, with 17% saying they simply can’t afford it and 9% saying they haven’t made definitive plans yet.

Bania says HR professionals shouldn’t underestimate the positive impact just a few days off can have on employees’ mental well-being as well as their productivity.

“Taking time off is important for employees to rest and recuperate from the stress of their daily work lives,” he said, “so it’s important for employers to encourage their employees to take advantage of their allotted time off.”

Bania recommended the following tips to ensure workers have a genuine opportunity to relax:

1. Encourage a “stay-cation”

Seventeen% of workers might say they can’t spare the money but even just a few days break can make a big difference.

“Taking just a few days off work to relax at home, spend quality time with the family or catch up with friends can do wonders,” he said.

2. Don’t make it a guilt-trip

Even joking with workers that they’re abandoning ship may make particularly conscientious employees feel bad – be positive about their trip and show you’re happy to spare them for a while.

3. Share information on discounts 

Does your organisation have any employee discounts on entertainment and travel? If so, actively share any offers with your staff.

4. Set boundaries

Make sure your employees know you don’t expect them to answer emails while on vacation – in fact, you can even go one step further and ban access altogether while they’re away.

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