Spring has sprung (or at least it’s trying to), and those summer vacation requests are starting to roll in. Time off can be great for the individual as well as their part in organizational success. Time off has been linked to increase productivity , higher engagement rates, lower instances of absenteeism, and increase creativity. That being said, it has to be managed properly in order to reap these benefits.
A study conducted by Accedo gives us some important insights on how employers can find the balance between giving workers what they want, and keeping business running smoothly. This 2012 survey included 522 full time workers.
Current Vacation Allotments
When preparing job offers, incentives or revisiting benefits packages for your workers, it’s important to stay competitive. In order to do that, it’s vital for decision makers to have a realistic idea of what other organizations are offering. Here is the breakdown from the survey results regarding how much vacation time workers were allotted:
- 36% 3+ Weeks
- 26% 3 Weeks
- 22% 2 Weeks
- 16% 1 Week or Less
They Want More
Many workers are feeling like those numbers are too low. In the edited words of Forest Gump, “Life happens”, and workers aren’t about to let the unavoidable sick days, broken down cars or jury duty interfere with their already measly vacation time.
The study found that vacation time isn’t always used for vacation. Workers admit to using additional vacation time for sick days, bereavement leave and jury duty.
- 47% of workers use it for sick days.
- 26% bereavement days.
- 27% have served jury duty.
These unavoidable life instances are seriously diluting the organizational and personal benefits of what should be vacation time, and workers are feeling the impact. They’re claiming they need more time.
- 44% would be happy with one or two additional weeks of vacation.
- 22% would want three or more.
The Negative Effects of Absenteeism
Quite often, when we talk about the work ethic in America, and the rising need for time off, the finger is pointed at the bad boss –the task master who will inevitably fire a worker for showing up five minutes late. This study is bringing an interesting perspective to the table. Workers attitudes toward one another’s time off are looking pretty negative.
- 29% of workers get upset with their co-workers if they take multiple long weekends off.
- 23% feel like their colleagues judge them when they take any time off.
- 25% of workers get upset with their co-workers if they leave the office early.
As I find the balance within my own organization, I have found that transparency and an open dialogue is the key to the time off issue . Many of our workers are from different parts of the world and I understand that family time doesn’t necessarily fill that need for a real vacation, nor does it account for the “life happens” days. When management communicates that these matters are understood, workers can then come to them with honest requests that can be planned for.
With concrete vacation time that isn’t meeting needs, employees will simply go absent, make excuses and impede productivity for everyone. Let’s collectively knock it off with these rigid, sub par standards for investing in our workforce; they not only piss workers off, they’re simply not working.
Although we’re a recruitment software company, we think it’s important to offer timely and helpful HR resources. For more from the HR Kitchen, visit our blog weekly.