Five Ways to Make Your Employee Vacation Time Count

Five Ways to Make Your Employee Vacation Time Count

Modern workers embody the phrase “work hard, play hard” – and every grain in the paid vacation hourglass is important. A recent PayScale survey says that most employees value their employee vacation time off over a higher base salary. When asked if they would trade some of their employee vacation time for a higher salary, 70% of respondents answered “no.”

Fear of Paid Vacation?

About 18% of respondents use half or less of their paid vacation days each year, some for fear that they might not seem as dedicated to their jobs in the eyes of management.

TIP: You wouldn’t think of taking only half of your salary, so why not take full advantage of this hard-earned aspect of your compensation package? Your employer provides paid vacation because they want you to use it.

How do employers accommodate employee vacation time requests? With graciousness, usually. Of our respondents, 74% said they have not had to cancel or reschedule their employee vacation time this year due to work conflicts. However, that means over a quarter of those surveyed did have to do so.

TIP: While there’s always a chance of work schedules being overhauled with little notice, it’s important to choose employee vacation time with care. Making a comprehensive list of upcoming deadlines and project due dates before scheduling paid vacation time can help prevent the disappointment and cost that come with changing vacation plans.

There’s a fine line between hoarding employee vacation time and using it too quickly. Most of our respondents had used a very reasonable 25% to 50% of their paid vacation time by mid-July, but 20% hadn’t used any – a sign that it’s time to start heading for the beach or the mountains. On the other hand, 14% had used nearly all of their paid vacation time.

TIP: Save paid vacation time for future relaxation – and for unexpected events. If you use too much of your employee vacation time in the first half of the year, you won’t have a safety net for whatever comes up.

Over half of respondents found it stressful to return to work after a vacation. To make your comeback easier:

  • Leave with a clean slate. Finish up small tasks and respond to all emails and phone calls before you hit the road.
  • Don’t think about work. Spend as little time as possible while away checking your office email or voicemail. By letting work go a little, you’ll come back with a clearer mind. Over 60% of respondents reported that working while on your paid vacation put a damper on the fun.
  • Let co-workers know when you plan to take employee vacation time and when you’ll be back. They’ll be less likely to jam your inbox while you’re away. Also, appointing a co-worker to answer questions during your absence will keep projects moving.
  • Keep your first morning back meeting-free. Don’t jump right in – wait until you’re 100% to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
  • Schedule catch-up time before you leave. Block out a few hours of your first day back for prioritizing projects, reading email, and finding out what happened while you were gone.

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