June is here and with it comes thoughts of summer travel, sunny days spent at the beach, relaxing at the cottage, and picnics with family and friends. But wait, perhaps not this year, again. The impact of COVID-19’s lockdowns and social distancing requirements has changed the entire outlook regarding if and how people spend their vacation time.
Increasingly, leaders are noticing signs of burnout or languishing in the behaviour of employees who have struggled to create sufficient balance between work and life demands. While employees wear signs of fatigue and worry on their faces — even noticeable through virtual meetings — it isn’t easy for employers to enforce taking needed breaks from work, let alone a block of vacation time.
— Suggested reading:
— Suggested reading: Signs you are languishing
There are many questions that surface about vacation time, but even more so as a result of the pandemic. Please refer to this HRReporter article or this post by the law firm, Sanfuri-Tumarkin for helpful answers to common questions related to whether employers can mandate vacation, roll it over, or pay out employees.
We worked harder and took less time off.
American workers walked away from an average of 33 percent of their paid time off. In Canada, the stats are quite similar. As per Canadian HR Reporter, less than 50 percent are taking less or no vacation time.
According to a study completed in July 2020 by IPX 1031, only about 40 percent of over 2000 respondents had taken or were planning on taking vacation time.
Normally, the reasons people cite for not taking vacation include
Adding COVID-19 to the mix, people are actually including the pandemic as the reason for not taking their vacation.
— Suggested reading: Ways to improve work-life integration
For employers, it requires paying extra attention to promoting the value and need for annual vacation time.
Here are some tips that are easy to implement with little to no cost.
While there will be some who continue to struggle with taking time off work, the more employers can do to feature the benefits and value of vacation time and offer creative ideas for how to do so, even during a pandemic, the healthier and more productive their workforce will be.
These are just some of the many tips and resources available to promote the importance of taking vacation time. We are pleased to offer additional resources including our Remote Care Wellness Toolkit. If you would like a digital copy of this toolkit or other employee benefits-related information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s work together and create solutions that work best for you and your organization.