Given the year 2020 has been, we have had many clients saying that their teams are feeling exhausted, work demands are on the rise and more and more time is being spent ‘working’ than on ourselves. Yet, given the crisis, fewer employees feel comfortable asking for time off. With travel restrictions in place, employees have had to forgo not only their travel, but also their holidays.
“innovative thinking and problem solving is impacted adversely”
However, with all work and no play, innovative thinking and problem solving is impacted adversely. Not taking time off impacts productivity and staff morale, directly impacting your business’s financial liability. By taking holidays, employees feel less stressed and more relaxed. Holidays not only benefit your employees, but also your business.
With so many employees not taking time off, the responsibility to make sure they get much needed downtime falls on you, their manager.
Here are ways in which you can support your employees:
Ask and remind
Start by having an open conversation with your employees about their unused annual leave. Find out if they already have a plan in place. You don’t always need to go abroad to relax – a staycation might work for some too, or just a week at home. Remind your team about the benefits of time off. Take a proactive stand and urge them to take a holiday.
Reassure your team that your business’s current time-off/ leave policy still works and communicate any relevant changes to them. For example, if your travel insurance is not applicable due to the pandemic, make sure your employees are aware before they make their plans. Your communication should include your business’s stance on travel, impact of any governmental border closures and focus upon health official guidelines.
Lead by example
The best way to really make a point, is to lead by example. Share your plans for relaxation with them and how you intend on using that downtime to recharge. This also enables a culture where employees feel comfortable asking for leave.
Often going on holidays means coming back to a mountain of work. Discuss the tasks that need to be address or build up. Delegate and exchange key tasks between team members who are planning go to on leave at different times. Find a suitable solution, one that puts their mind at ease while they’re on holiday.
Ask your employees on leave to not check their mails throughout their holiday. Support them by getting an ‘out of office’ response in place with another contact person. Let them know that you do not expect them to be available.
Ease back into work
Getting back can lead to some added pressure for anyone. Avoid lining up new projects and meetings for their first week back. Let them get back into a routine and respond to the emails/calls they have missed..