Entrepreneurs

How To Encourage Employees To Take Time Off And Recharge

There’s some merit to the phrase “work hard to play hard.” But with workers devoting their all to a business, especially when it’s just getting off the ground, it can be easy for them to lose sight of their need for relaxation. Therefore, it is up to the leaders to intervene and help employees realize that their peace and mental health are just as important as the valuable work they do.

Employees that relax and take things in stride are less likely to experience burnout or have emotional breakdowns. Here, eight leaders from Young Entrepreneur Council offer sage advice on how to encourage employees to take time off for relaxation as a core element of keeping them motivated and productive.

1. Lead By Example

We cannot realize our collective impact unless every member of our organization is feeling well rested and valued. This is why we stress the importance of taking time off, meditating on a daily basis and prioritizing health in all its forms above all else. Making sure to set healthy boundaries and to encourage vacation time, I lead by example and make sure to announce when I’m taking time off, why I’m taking the time and what I plan to do to unplug. Learning lessons the hard way, I know what happens when we burn out. It not only hurts us on an individual level, but it also bruises the organization. If there is one thing I recommend to all executives and employees alike, it is to find balance. – Samar Ali, Millions of Conversations

2. Help Them Build Systems

The reason many employees don’t like to take time off is because they don’t feel confident they can leave without things falling apart. The best way to promote time off is to help employees build systems and processes that will outlive them at the organization. We encourage all of our employees to focus on making themselves obsolete, which can sound a little strange but it is, in fact, liberating. If an employee can take responsibility for creating systems that don’t rely on them having to be there every day, they are much more likely (and able) to get away. Engaging an employee to be part of the solution creates the best outcome. – Russell Benaroya, Stride Services

3. Be Tuned In To Their Needs And Habits

The 9-to-5 is dead. You need to be more receptive to your employees’ individual work habits. While some people like the structure of a 9-to-5 day, others work better from home, late a night, early in the morning or sometimes by just having the ability to take the time off when they know they need to. It’s important to understand what brings enjoyment to your team members, and then encourage them to act on it. If it’s time for a vacation, and you’re tuned into their needs, you’ll see it. Ask them how they’re feeling, and don’t be afraid to be the one that suggests the idea. Always make a welcoming atmosphere for people to truly express themselves—it will be better for you and them. A happy employee is a productive employee, but maybe next week. –Andy Karuza, LitPic

4. Incorporate Time Off In Your Culture

Oftentimes, employers expect consistent top performance from their employees on levels that aren’t work-life balance friendly. It’s important to encourage and promote a work-life balance within your organization. We know just how important work-life balance and really treating yourself to a well-deserved vacation is, so we’ve incorporated it into our company culture. Our Founders’ Circle company trip rewards our top performers with an all-inclusive paid vacation. Bottom line is, our top performers deserve time off and we’re happy to give it to them—paid. We’ve found that by doing this we’re advocating for well-deserved vacations and, in turn, our Grovies (what we call our employees) come back to work even harder with a passion to continue to succeed. – John Lie-Nielsen, One Park Financial

5. Offer Time Off As A Sign Of Appreciation

Practice patience and sensitivity. If you sense that your employee is stressed out and just not telling you, tell them how much you appreciate their work (because you do). If they ask for one day off, give them two. These gestures of human kindness and decency may cost you a little money, but pay huge dividends in the long run. –Han-Gwon Lung, Tailored Ink

6. Make Regular Announcements

You can encourage employees to take time off by making regular announcements about it. We have a deadline in September for submitting holiday requests because we have a lot of people to accommodate. Reminding them about it eases their worries and encourages them to submit their time off without overthinking it. Leaders want their employees to feel rejuvenated and ready for work so they can put their best foot forward. Not taking advantage of time off is a disservice to both parties and helps no one. –Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

7. Be Genuinely Excited For Them

Be genuinely interested and excited for your employees when they request time off. We’ve had an unlimited paid vacation policy for years and ran into the common trap of employees not taking enough time off. Rather than adding more policies to force people into it, I’ve found that taking an interest and encouraging team members to take family vacations and add leisure time to work trips can help break the stigma of taking time off. Ask questions. Be excited for them. As a company founder and a dad of small kids, I enjoy living vicariously through the international travels of my team! – Dan Golden, BFO (Be Found Online)

8. Make Sure It’s Spelled Out On Paper

It’s important to provide crystal clear information about taking time off during onboarding and in the employee handbook. When time off policies are expressed in black and white, people will feel more confident about taking time off. Of course, you can create more confidence by verbally talking to people about taking time off during meetings. –Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

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