Harvard Business Review: How To Get Your Team To Use Their Vacation Time

Evidence is piling up that a rested workforce is good for business. Not only does taking vacation contribute to enhanced productivity but it also immunizes our teams against the toxic negative attitudes that can be contagious in the workplace. So if vacation has such an evident ROI, why are employees taking less and less of it? Liane Davey investigates:

 In one study, researchers found that employees fear that their manager will think less of them for taking a vacation. Yup, they are blaming you (what’s new?). To change this worrisome trajectory, you need to get creative about how to get your team members to take a vacation.

As with anything that matters in the workplace, the key to vacation compliance is to measure it and manage it. Keep track of how many vacation days employees have taken, and give periodic updates. Ideally, work it into performance planning at the beginning of the year. (Research has shown that vacations planned more than a month in advance are restorative, whereas the stress of vacations booked at the last minute can negate the positive impacts of the time off.) If getting employees to use their full vacation allotment is going to be a challenge, make the tracking public to increase the positive peer pressure. You can even use visible symbols (such as stars or checkmarks) to subtly associate completed vacation with success.