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Employee Relations: Use Them, Don’t Lose Them

HR Elements Content provided by United Benefit Advisors

Work. Work. Work. People work long hours at their jobs only to be rewarded by working long hours when they’re home. “I can’t wait until the weekend gets here,” they may say, but inevitably there will always be some chore or duty that needs to be done, or they may go back and work at their job… or even have a second job. Is there ever time to just sit back and relax?

Most employers recognize the need for their employees to take several days off in a row to help unwind. This is why a major benefit of full-time work is often the availability of paid vacation days. Yet fewer and fewer workers are taking advantage of this and, consequently, losing those paid days off. A study in Forbes in 2014 showed that only 25% of Americans used their vacation benefit. Why is that?

According to an article in Employee Benefit Advisors titled, “The Common Workplace Practice That’s Costing Employers Billions,” one possible reason is that employees worry that their work will accumulate while they’re away. Another reason is that some people, especially if they have a management or leadership role, believe they are indispensable and need to be available.

Regardless of the reasons, employees at all levels within an organization need to take time off. That same article references the U.S. Travel Association, which says that employees who don’t use their paid time off are potentially costing employers more than $50 billion annually in lost revenue, employee turnover, and retraining costs.

The stress of not taking a vacation can be detrimental not only to a person’s health, but also to their productivity at work. An article titled, “Can Summer Stress Cause Employee Burnout?” in Employee Benefit News mentions that stress surpasses obesity and inactivity as a leading health risk at work.

Employees don’t need to take an entire week or more to destress. Nor do they need to travel. A few days off, or a mini vacation, that are spread throughout the year are enough as long as that time away from work is truly away from work. A complete disconnect from one’s job is necessary in order to achieve the desired benefit. It’s important to work hard, but also remember to play hard, too.