PTO – take every last second. That’s an order.

Jenn DonovanCulture, Fun Stuff, Uncategorized0 Comments


I think we can all agree that having Paid Time Off (PTO) is a huge perk for employees. But if your employees aren’t using the time off, then it should be a red flag. Years ago, most companies thought that employees who didn’t use PTO were more productive, but after some research, it was determined that the opposite is true.

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Not taking PTO can take a physical and emotional toll on workers, and potentially make them unhappy and unproductive. In contrast, well-rested and recharged employees may view their workplace more positively. High employee morale has a positive impact on the workplace, company culture, and the bottom line.

Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage and Before Happiness and founder of the consulting firm GoodThink, found that when “the brain can think positively, productivity improves by 31 percent, sales increase by 37 percent, and creativity and revenues can triple.”. The U.S. Travel Association’s Project: Time Off found that employees who take all their vacation time increase their chances of getting promoted and getting a raise by 6.5 percent, compared with people who leave 11 or more days of paid vacation unused.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t use all my PTO – even though Cindy tries to make me. Surveys discovered that the reason many employees don’t use all their vacation time is because they worry that no one else can do their job. Now, I’m not saying no one else at Red Barn can do my job, but I have a tough time giving up control. Before you start rolling your eyes thinking I’m a moron for choosing work over a Margarita and the beach – I do take at least 2 vacations a year. I just may sneak in checking my email at least once or twice a day.

A few companies made the news a year or two ago when they decided to offer their employees unlimited vacation. You might remember hearing about it, but you may not have heard the results on how it went. The company Mammoth decided to give it a try, and while the employees ranked it as the third highest employee benefit, each employee averaged the same amount of days off as when they had an accrual system.

But that’s really not the important take away from the vacation policy. It conveyed three things to the employees:

1. The company views its staff holistically–acknowledging that employees have demands and interests beyond work that can’t always be scheduled in advance.
2. Unlimited vacation policies convey trust, and put the responsibility for making sure the work gets done on the employee before they take time off
3. Unlimited vacation treats employees as individuals. Time off is a personal issue – everyone needs a different amount, and it changes from year to year.

While you might not be ready to go down the unlimited route yet, encouraging employees to take their allotted time off to relax, reboot, and enjoy some time away from the office should be on the To Do list.

Curious what sparked this blog topic? Shoot me an email and I’ll send you some photos from the island paradise I just returned from!

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