Encouraging your team members to take time off is a must!

Your cell phone battery is nearly dead, so you charge it as usual and that’s that. But how should you manage the batteries of all your employees, and even your own? The answer is vacations.

Let’s take a moment to learn why and how you should be encouraging your employees to disconnect from work this summer.

The pandemic changed everything

It’s no surprise that the pandemic made an impact on everyone’s work habits and methods. People are taking fewer breaks: In 2021, only 27% of working Canadians took all their vacation days.

With more people teleworking, the distinction between family and professional life has blurred. The workday never seems to end. Your employees are more than likely logging in days, nights and weekends.

Eye strain, a.k.a. itchy eyes, related to computer screens is not the only side effect of putting in these extended hours. Stress levels and many health problems are increasing as well. That’s why disconnecting from work has become such a hot topic.

Impact on health

Vacations are subject to the Act respecting labour standards, but more importantly, they are essential for our physical and mental well-being. Are people in your company putting off their vacations because they have too much work to do? That won’t end well.

Encourage your team members to change their thinking and focus on refuelling. Work should be approached like a relay race rather than a sprint with no finish line, because you’ll eventually run out of steam!

By taking time off, employees can enjoy better quality of sleep and improve their overall health. Vacations reduce the risk of heart disease and lower blood pressure. They also reduce stress and the likelihood of a burnout, prevent depression and absenteeism.

Hit that reboot button!

You’re probably already aware that overworked employees are not productive. Sometimes people need a reboot, just like computers! Your employees won’t be fresh and at the ready if they don’t get enough time to recover.

Encouraging them to take time off could lead to better results for the company. Alert employees are more productive. Straying from their routine will also inspire their creativity.

Members of teams that take the time they need to rest have better relationships with each other over the long run. It all adds up to more engagement, well-being on the job, and more loyalty toward the company.

In other words, vacations benefit not only the individuals, but the whole company.

Keep problems at bay

Make things easier for your employees. If they’re not taking their vacation days, it may be due to one of the following reasons :

  • Fear of missing out on important information, a project or meeting
  • Concern that others can’t do their work while they’re away
  • Anxiety over returning to an overload of messages and tasks
  • They’re convinced they won’t climb the corporate ladder if they don’t dedicate themselves entirely

Do away with these doubts. Encouraging your employees is fine and dandy, but if they’re convinced they can’t take time off, your words won’t be enough.

Help them take time away from the office so they don't have to worry about their work or those who will fill in for them. A good solution may be to recruit their help to figure out who will replace them. This way, in one fell swoop, you could make everyone happy as you’ll have the right resources on the right job. This is good for continuity in general, not just during vacations.

Of course this type of organizing does not fall strictly on your shoulders. Before they go, ask employees to give their colleagues a “roadmap” which includes the work to be carried out. Remind them to enable their out-of-office replies, which specify the exact vacation dates and a resource person to contact for emergencies.

Make disconnecting a best practice!

Vacations are great but we need to find ways to recharge on other days, too. Evenings and weekends are also great for decompressing. It’s like a warmup for your extended holiday.

If at all possible, ask your team members to ignore emails and phone calls after work or during weekends. Ask them to stay away from work platforms during holidays. Doing so will go a long way in relieving their stress.

Here are a few more proven tricks to get your staff to disconnect :

  • Try not to talk or think about work
  • Set some time aside to relax without screen time of any kind, doing nothing useful
  • Get some fresh air, especially if you’re surrounded by four walls
  • Do an activity you enjoy: cooking, sports, reading, music, etc...
  • Improvise once in a while and say goodbye to routine

Practice what you preach

Are you leading by example? When your employees see you taking your vacation time, they will be more likely to take theirs. And when you return to the office and tell everyone how relaxing your time away was, you reinforce the message : Work-life balance is important.

A culture that promotes the well-being of its employees will take your company further. It may even set you apart on the market and attract new talent. In short, everybody comes out a winner.