We all need a break from the routine and by a break, I mean a vacation.
Taking a vacation gives us a chance to recharge our batteries. It gives us a fresh perspective on how to solve problems. That simple break in routine can supply us with more patience to deal with the people and things in life that challenge us and it can give us the energy we need to power through our busy, sometimes overwhelming days.
But we, as American workers, are not taking our vacation time. In an April 2014 CBS News blog post, it was reported that fear was the biggest factor motivating people not to be away from the workplace. The article went on to state that American workers only used half of their eligible vacation time during the past 12 months, based on a survey conducted by the Glassdoor organization. The top reason for not taking vacation time was the concern that no other employee could do the job, followed by a fear of getting behind. Seventeen percent of respondents said they were afraid of losing their job.
By law, workers in the European Union are required to take 4 weeks of paid time off. It’s the law.
There are some real concerns for the customer experience if you have too many people in need of a vacation in your organization.
Employees in need of a vacation often exhibit a variety of behaviors, all having the potential to negatively impact the experience your customers are having with you. Some of the behaviors Market Viewpoint’s mystery shoppers have observed fall into the following categories:
- Short-fused interactions with customers and co-workers
- Complaining about work conditions in front of customers
- Complaining about other customers in front of customers
- Lack of initiative
- Lack of creativity in problem in solving
As a manager, it’s important to foster a supportive environment for employees in need of time off if for no other reason than customer retention. No one should ever be afraid of being fired for taking time off.
Consider these ways to foster a supportive environment in your organization:
- Mandate that your employees take the time they deserve and if your employees aren’t going to track their vacation time, you should.
- Cross train so that employees don’t feel overwhelmed upon return to work.
- Celebrate employees’ vacations by encouraging them to share their travel or staycation experiences at lunch and on breaks with others.
- Take your own vacations as a manager. Set the tone and establish the culture that breaks are a necessary and good thing in today’s workplaces.
- Tell employees you missed them and you’re glad they’re back but also let them know how glad you are that they got away from the grind for a much-needed break!
Do you encourage your employees to take all of their vacation?
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