According to Project: Time Off, 55 percent of American workers left vacation time unused in 2015. This adds up to 658 million unused vacation days! On top of that, U.S. workers forfeit 222 million of the 658 million unused vacation days because these days couldn’t be rolled over or paid out. They are just lost!
Giving and making sure employees take vacation is important. A commitment to helping employees maximize their vacation starts from the top down. At GL group we make sure that employees know we want them to take and enjoy their time off. We give 20 days of vacation/sick time as soon as a full-time employee is hired. We recently raised vacation to 20 days because we knew it made good business sense.
Not to mention there are so many benefits to employees taking time off. The obvious is morale, engagement, and productivity increases when employees do not have to worry about having time available. Some of the not so obvious is what vacation time does for the employee’s overall health and creativity.
Research shows paid time off lowers health care costs and even contributes to the health of peers in the workplace. A study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh concluded that employees who took one sick/flu day reduced on-the-job transmission by 25 percent. Not having to worry about “taking the time” proves to be healthier for more than just the employee.
We find at GL group, that employees who are able to take a vacation come back to the office energized and bursting with creativity. Simply having this time away from your day to day work, helps employees think about the bigger picture of the work they are doing. It is common within our culture to have employees return from a trip and create a new program or process, and for us to not be encouraging of this as an overall organization, seems crazy!
Many companies might look at this and think 20 days is outrageous for a new hire to have on day one, but we see it as an investment into our long term strategy of attracting and retaining top talent.
“Vacation is a great way to spend time with my family and recharge, refresh, and refocus. I was encouraged and supported by my team to take time away and was able to truly disconnect which is what made my recent trip to Florida so enjoyable,” said Shannon Strauser, Senior Accountant.
We also find that by encouraging employees take time off, we are able to give other employees cross training opportunities that could be helpful to their personal career development. When I started at GL group, I cross trained in another division while the Customer Service/Sales Support person was out on vacation. I was familiar with Customer Service but the Sales Support piece was new to me. Getting this training and being able to work in this role for even just a week, helped land me my next opportunity within the company on the Sales Support team.
Every year we roll out a new WOW! Benefit and since we seriously love vacation so much that our newest benefit revolves around, you guessed it, vacation! Sandy Vacations are all-expense paid trips that GL group awards to 10 percent of employees annually. Winners are selected LIVE at our company meetings, hosted three times a year.
So make sure you take the time you’re given and trust me, your boss and your co-workers will thank you!
WRITER: Lisa Whealon