How Small Businesses Can Put Vacation Time to Work

July 27, 2021

Did you know that your business could be more profitable due to time off? Are you viewing your employees’ vacation time as an expense vs. an asset? If you are like many small business owners, you may be concerned about your business’s ability to operate when employees take time off. The concerns about keeping up with limited resources and the costs associated with employees taking time off work are very valid short-term worries.

Yet experts continue to show evidence that businesses that employ individuals that take time off from work regularly are more profitable enterprises.

Employees that take regular time off from work are more productive than those that do not take time off. Production has been measured, and the results have shown that these employees taking time off not only recoup the hours spent outside of the office for personal enjoyment but also add additional hours on top of the time off, resulting in increased production.

Employers seeking higher profits may be interested to learn more so they can begin to reap the benefits earned from cultivating a workplace that encourages time off!

Employers may notice that employees that do not take a regular vacation may appear overworked and stressed. Both personal and professional stressors typically result in a decrease in production at work. Many managers and owners would be surprised to learn that their well-meaning dependable, hard-working employees that never take off work could be costing them money! Studies continue to show evidence that the overworked employee is less productive!

Employees that do not take off work experience burnout. A burned-out employee can be a disengaged employee and can ultimately reduce morale. Overworked employees are at risk for several health-related issues that can increase medical claims and ultimately increase health insurance premiums that employers may be absorbing.

When employees take time off work, employers can evaluate their operations and may find items of concern. Unfortunately,  many businesses have discovered fraud and theft when an employee has taken time off. Any findings could save the company money in future losses and allow businesses to make changes to increase the company’s security. Companies may decide they need to include cross-training employees to ensure a backup plan exists if an employee exits the business unexpectedly.

Employers can increase productivity and have a happier workforce by making vacation work for them!

Recognizing the need to make time off a priority is the first step in increasing employees’ time out of the workplace to enjoy the benefits.

The next step for employers to make vacation time work for them is to see that their employees are taking time off. Encouraging vacations may sound easy, but some employees embrace personal time off work while others may need more support or coaxing to take time for themselves.

Employees that avoid taking vacations do so for various reasons.

There are several reasons why employees do not take time off.

One of the main reasons employees do not take off is that they need to feel appreciated and valued within the workplace. In order to do so, they must show dedication. They often think that to prove how dedicated and devoted they are to their employer, they must work extra hours and not take off work. Employers can encourage dedicated employees to take off by letting them know that they expect them to take time off and show positive reinforcement upon return.

Many employees do not take vacations due to financial concerns. Financial concerns can be challenging to address and overcome, especially for employers who do not offer paid time off. Managers may want to brainstorm creative alternatives, such as leaving early on Fridays. Staycations may be an option that managers can suggest.

Helping employees who do not want to express their concerns and brainstorm solutions will be essential in making vacation time work for small businesses.

Small Businesses can encourage employees to take off by:

1. Leading by example

Often owners work long hours and take little time off for themselves. Employees tend to follow their leaders.

When leaders begin taking off and returning to work refreshed, employees will feel encouraged to take time off. It can be a significant change for many business owners to take time off and pass along leadership responsibilities to subordinates.

Business owners who are relaxed and refreshed will also be more innovative problem solvers that can develop new products, services, and solutions that can become rather profitable.

2. Communicating vacation policies and balances regularly

Small businesses that offer PTO can encourage employees to take off by regularly running reports and reminding employees of their vacation balances. Out of sight and out of mind, employees may not realize the credit that they are accruing. Providing regular reminders can allow employees to choose to use their time as they seem appropriate. Providing reminders can also prevent scrambling to use time at the end of the year or employees recognizing the need to request off and not have a conflict with other employees that want to take off at the same time.

3. Shutting down during downtimes

Closing for a few days can be helpful in many ways. Some companies have chosen to close over the Christmas holiday, 4th of July, or other times when business is slow. Shutting down the company forces a vacation for all parties. It may be an excellent way to manage the organization, allowing everyone to rest simultaneously.

4. Encouraging time off

Does your business encourage time off? Is your culture encouraging or discouraging time off? Help employees understand that it is okay to take care of themselves and their loved ones.

5. Implementing a “use it or lose it” policy

Eliminating or reducing the number of hours or days an employee can cash in unused time, or carry over new time, will force time off. Policy changes can be implemented gradually.

Employers recognizing the value of time off will not only increase profits but reap other benefits.

These benefits can include attracting and retaining good employees while having more positive interactions with your employees and customers.

If your business offers Paid Time Off and needs support with tracking hours, know that PaySmart provides the services and support you need to reach your goals.

PaySmart is a payroll provider located in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, supporting small businesses in the Central PA region. We are dedicated to helping small businesses take care of their payroll needs. To learn more information about how PaySmart may provide payroll solutions, please get in touch with us at 717-766-1777. Our New Client Concierge is waiting for you!