Encouraging Employee Vacations

Spring is in the air and if you are anything like me you’re already thinking about the vacations and trips you’d like to take this summer. Every year, however, I notice there are a few employees in our office who never take more than a day or two off at a time. Some are only out of work when they’re sick – never using their vacation time at all.

Is this healthy?

In an age where individuals are receiving reasonable compensation packages, including plenty of time off, it seems strange that someone would not take advantage of being able to take a paid vacation. Yet every year there are at least a handful of people on every team who have days left over at the end of the year and at least one of them has a significant amount of time remaining.

Those who don’t take a vacation at least once per year are more likely to become stressed out, unhappy, and aggravated at work. Everyone needs time away to rest.

The problem is that most people think they have to “go away” in order for a vacation to count. What they don’t realize is that a week lounging around the house can be just as relaxing as a week at the beach.

As a manager you should take special care in ensuring that your employees schedule at least a week of vacation each year. Your relaxed employees will be more productive upon their return, true, but there’s something else to consider as well.

Most people with performance issues can keep them covered up if they’re only out of the office for a day at a time. Real issues, however, will generally make themselves apparent before an employee returns from vacation.

I once heard of a woman who embezzled over 60,000 pounds in cash from an insurance agency over the course of a year – no one had any idea what happened until she took a week of vacation and her customers started complaining. Of course, she wasn’t there to field those calls and it wasn’t long before her scam was uncovered.

This is a pretty rare and extreme example, but it just goes to prove what can happen if people are tired, frustrated, and desperate. Make sure your employees get the right vacation time so that they can remain the happy and productive workers you hired from the start!

Thanks again,


Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Training   

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Updated on: 6 April, 2009

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