Be honest – how much time off have you taken during lockdown? Without the lure of spending your vacation exploring a new city or relaxing on the beach, you may have stockpiled your days off in anticipation of more “normal” times.
It’s understandable that people are reluctant to take time off if they have nowhere to go, but long stretches of work without a break is leaving employees at risk of burnout. Even before the additional stresses of navigating a global pandemic, countless studies showed that working without a break led to a negative impact on physical and mental health, increased stress, and a decline in productivity.
We’re also working longer hours. Data from private network service provider, NordVPN, found that US workers have been logging three additional working hours a day since the beginning of lockdown.
Many of us have been working from home solidly for 3 months now, yet the usual benefits of remote working have been counteracted by cancelled vacations, longer days, and limited time off. If you or your staff haven’t had a single break in that time, it’s time to take action. Here are some suggestions:
Make it really easy to book time off
Whatever tool your business uses to manage staff vacation, if it’s not easily accessible in your company intranet, this may put people off from booking a holiday. After all, if staff have to jump through several hoops – whether intentional or not – to book a vacation, this could imply that the business is discouraging them from doing so.
Instead, make it super easy for staff to book holiday by promoting it loud and clear on your intranet homepage. Adding an eye-catching button that links directly to your holiday planner software is a quick and easy way to encourage employees to request time off.
Redefine vacation time
Many people use their vacation days to travel, but given the current restrictions, it’s time to get a little creative and redefine what it means to take time off. Encourage staff to think of their vacation as a chance to mentally recharge, focus on family time, or find a new hobby. Try creating a collaboration area on your intranet to give staff a forum for sharing some ideas.
It’s important to promote the benefits of taking a break from work too. Even though people can’t do what they usually would, time off to relax will boost productivity and give staff a renewed sense of focus when they return. Share a list of all the advantages of taking time off on your intranet, to help inspire people to book a break.
Approve holiday requests swiftly
If a member of staff requests some much-needed time off, be sure to approve it swiftly. A quick approval means staff can relax knowing that they have an upcoming break. Try adding an “Absence Requests” intranet widget to your homepage so that you can keep an eye on holiday requests as soon as they come in.
Be flexible too. Things are strange right now, so people may need a day off to recuperate at short notice. Adjusting your vacation request policy to be more flexible will encourage people to ask for a break as soon as they need it.