Are You a Vacation Hater?

You may be one. And it’s probably because everyone seems to request his or her vacation at the worst possible time. There may be an industry conference to prepare for, a large customer order that needs to be fulfilled or things are just “crazy busy.” Being down a person for a day or week just adds more stress on everyone else.

Vacations are also expensive because that employee sitting on a fishing boat staring at a bobber or reading their iPad’s while slathered in SPF 1,000 are still getting paid even though they are not producing anything. You may be even more frustrated when you need to hire a temp to cover for them, adding a layer of cost that eats away at your bottom line.

It comes down to a conflict of needs – you need to get work done, and employees need time off. For people and teams to be effective, it’s only fair that everyone gets their needs satisfied!

It’s work-life balance, building a culture, working to live versus living to work, and not sitting on our deathbed wishing we hadn’t spent so much time at the office. In the olden days (pre-1990), employers got away with offering one week of vacation after an employee had completed one year of service. Today, vacation time has become that eye-catching centerpiece on the negotiating table, sometimes taking precedence over salary.

Even though employers understand employees need time off to recharge – and that recharging leads to renewed energy, a boost in creative thinking and a nice positive attitude – some of them will still cringe when employees are playing on vacation instead of working. In contrast, some companies are offering, encouraging, and in rare cases, requiring employees to use all their vacation time.

More employers are also supporting employees’ desires to become involved in noble causes requiring extended time away from work, such as, volunteering, or helping communities in times of need. These employers understand and appreciate the value of supporting what their employees believe in. For the small business owner, offering such elite benefits is rarely feasible or affordable, yet they offer other benefits consistent with work-life balance that resonates quite well with employees.

employee vacations time off at work conflictMaking employees feel guilty about taking vacations that were earned will come back to bite you. Yes, if you are a business owner, you may have not taken a vacation for three years, but that is one of the realities associated with owning and running a business. That is an agreement, a contract you made with yourself, and for that sacrifice you enjoy many other benefits of owning your own company that employees will never experience.

If your people are busting their tails every day for you, they will eventually run low on fuel, which will negatively affect their behavior. Many people become short-tempered, less creative and not as effective in their roles. You may have even insisted that someone take some time off after witnessing an explosion. Things should never reach that critical level – it’s not healthy for you, your business or your customers!

Instead of being a vacation-hater, consider a shift in thinking to becoming a vacation supporter. The benefits couldn’t be more obvious, and furthermore, it was part of your deal when you made the job offer, wasn’t it?


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