3 Most Common Mixed Messages Employees Hear About Time Off

Vacation is an important opportunity for employees to unwind, experience new things, and — most importantly — recharge. 85 percent of managers say their employees tend to be more productive when they take vacation.

It’s a bit of a chicken or the egg here since getting employees to take a vacation is dependent on the boss. But according to employees, in order for managers to see that increased productivity, they need to accept their role as the top influencer over an employee’s vacation time.

You may be (unintentionally) sending the wrong message when it comes to vacation. Here are three of the most common confusions.

1. Giving the impression vacation is not encouraged (without saying a thing)
More than two-thirds of non-managers surveyed say they hear nothing, negative, or mixed messages about taking time off. If employees feel like you disapprove of them taking time off, they’re going to be more hesitant to ask for vacation and take a break. This could lead to work martydom or fatigue among your staff.

This is especially true of Millennial employees as double the number (16%) of Millennial employees surveyed say they feel disapproval from their managers about taking a vacation, compared to their Baby Boomer colleagues (8%).

2. Not taking your own vacation
If you are not taking your vacation, your employees may think that’s how they should grow in their careers. Your staff may think you expect them to work long hours because you work long hours. Employees are watching your work habits, and, if you don’t take a break, neither will they.

Hilton Worldwide’s Chris Nassetta warns his habit during the weekend led more and more of his employees to work six-hour work weeks. “What I intended to be my time to catch up evolved into an expectation for my team. I never said a word, but when they found out I was in the office on Sunday, they assumed they should be too,” he wrote on our blog.

3. Emailing while you’re on vacation

Here’s why you shouldn’t send email while on vacation: You are missing out on an opportunity to develop the staff you manage.

Deloitte Consulting CEO Jim Moffatt believes that if you hire the right people and give them proper direction, you should feel confident in their ability to work alone. If you give them constant direction while you’re on vacation, you can hinder their confidence to work independently.

“You’ll be amazed at what you can do when you’re unplugged—and what your people have accomplished when you plug back in. I can personally attest, you’ll be a more confident and better leader because of it,” Moffatt says.

If you communicate with them while you’re on vacation, it also creates a misconception that they should also be reachable when they take time off. When your employees take a vacation, it should be an opportunity for them to get away from work. Let your employees know they do not have to worry about work while they vacation.


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