How Summer Vacation Actually Helps Your Organization

ThinkstockPhotos-475276248American employees are known for long work hours and fewer vacation days. With smart devices and company-provided laptops, they’re always connected to the business. In fact, 27 percent of US employees perform some work between 10pm and 6am and 29 percent work on weekends. But is it really beneficial to the bottom line?

The inability to disconnect and unwind leads to lack of sleep,higher stress levels – the number one cause of mental and physical health problems – and results in less productivity. This summer, avoid these concerns by following these tips to help your team decompress and come back to the office with a fresh perspective.

Offer summer hours. Some employees save their traditional vacation days in case of an emergency or that out of town wedding they know is coming up. A great way to help those employees take much needed time off is to offer company-wide half-day Fridays during the summer – or Summer Hours. For regions with long winters, this helps your employees get the most out of the brief months of great weather so they can spend time with friends and family.

If your business requires someone to be “on call” for client or customer needs, you can offer a rotating schedule, so even if your team can’t have a half-day every Friday, they’ll at least get one or two per month to disconnect.

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Provide balance days. If it’s too difficult for your team to leave early on Fridays, another option is to provide employees with a few “balance days,” or extra bonus vacation days that can be used between Memorial Day and Labor Day. These enable employees take that long weekend trip or a staycation where they can run errands or enjoy fun, local summer activities.

No matter when the fiscal year ends, offering summer balance days ensures your team is getting a much-needed break, taking time off to enjoy the season. Just make sure you’re planning everyone’s vacation days well in advance so your company is staffed appropriately.

Respect employees who take vacation days. Because of the hard-working mentality of US employees, they sometimes feel like they cannot fully disconnect on their day off, especially if it’s not for a specific holiday. To counter this concern, foster a culture of support for your employees who decide to take a few days off during the summer. Make sure there is a simple protocol for requesting vacation days, including advance notice so there is no double-booking. Also, create a clear “hand-over” procedure so that managers and employees know who owns that person’s task while he or she is out. The hand-over also ensures the vacationer doesn’t feel obligated to stay connected while they’re away.

Creating a culture where vacations are both encouraged and respected ultimately will benefit your business. It gives your dedicated staff time to recharge their batteries, disconnect, and spend time with family and friends. Additionally, vacations are a great way for managers to empower employees. When a manager is out, for example, team members who step into his or her role temporarily enjoy more responsibility and ownership. It demonstrates a manager’s confidence in his team members, which only serves to further motivate and inspire them on a day-to-day basis.

What benefits do you see when your team takes a few summer vacation days? Let us know in the comments section.

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Hailey Canon

Hailey Canon
Hailey Canon is regional vice president of Addison Group's finance and accounting practice.

Hailey Canon

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