While it’s early Spring, it’s not too early to begin focusing on vacations for you and your employees. There’s no law requiring you to offer paid time off, but most companies do for their full-time employees. Still, when it comes to vacations, those in the U.S. lag considerably behind their European counterparts where the minimum of four weeks paid leave is the norm.
Here are some issues for you to think about as summertime, and vacation time, approach:
Your vacation policies
What are the rules in your company? Review them now to determine whether changes should be made.
- How much paid time off? Do you increase the benefit with the length of employment? Consider that the average number of total paid days off in the U.S. for someone with less than a year on the job is 14 days, according to Salary.com. This increases to 21 days after 5 years, and 25 days after 10 years.
- How is paid time-off accrued? Do you let employees accrue paid time off and then use their days as they want (e.g., for sick days, personal days, or vacation days) or do you have a specific number of days for vacation time?
- Can employees take off at any time or do they need your (or a manager’s) approval? If scheduling is vital, then encourage employees to make summer vacation plans now so time off can be coordinated.
Vacations serve a numbers of purposes for your business and staff. Studies show that vacations improve the health of employees. They can also be useful in detecting employee fraud. For example, banks require employees to take two consecutive weeks off so that any irregularities can be detected in this time.
Besides banks, a number of companies, including various hi-tech firms, already have mandatory vacations, as reported by CNN. They don’t want employees to burn out. You may not necessarily want a mandatory vacation policy, but it is helpful for owners and managers to assure employees that taking time off isn’t viewed as slacking.
Don’t overlook your own time off to de-stress and recharge yourself. It’s important for your health, and the business won’t fall apart while you’re away.
One of the big questions for many owners is whether to stay connected while on vacation (e.g., check email, phone in). Technology certainly has made it easy to have some connection with employees and customers even if you’re out of town. But should you?
The less connected you remain with the business while on vacation, the greater the benefits of time off will be. You can facilitate your separation by:
- Scheduling well in advance. This will allow you to complete projects before the vacation begins and to alert customers that you’ll be away.
- Preparing for the unexpected. Make sure to designate the person who will handle the unexpected while you’re away. For example, if the alarm company calls because of an incident on your premises, be sure that it has that person’s phone number so you’re not disturbed. If a customer has a crisis, be confident that the person you designate, along with other staff members, can address all problems.
- Getting your family involved. You may need encouragement to not plug in while you’re away. A spouse, significant other, or friend can help you enjoy your holiday.
Here’s to summer vacations!