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How can we encourage employees to use their PTO?

Paid time off gives employees a chance to take a break from the daily demands of their job and find time to rest, recharge, and spend time with family and friends. Employers who offer PTO support the overall mental health of their staff, and employees who use PTO can help reduce burnout and increase productivity and creativity. However, the positive impact of time away from work only occurs if employees actually use their PTO. While it’s important to give your staff time off, it’s helpful to go one step further and motivate them to use it. Here are a few ways to encourage your team to use their PTO and reap the benefits of time away from their desk.

Encourage staff to use a vacation planning tool. When employees are busy at work, it’s not uncommon for the end of the fiscal year to come, and your employees have only used a few days of PTO. There is always another project to complete, which may cause your employees not to take the time off they need to perform at their peak.

Encourage your staff to use a vacation planning tool to plan out when they will take time away from work. The U.S. Travel Association offers a free planning toolkit that makes it easy. Asking employees to plan ahead encourages them to think about vacations and gives your company ample notice to prepare for their absence. It’s a win-win for employees and employers.

Openly communicate about PTO. In addition to planning, ongoing communication from leadership regarding vacation time is a helpful way to encourage staff to use their PTO. A note in your company newsletter or a regular announcement at staff meetings can help remind your team to use their time off. And, if you have the time or support, consider letting your staff members know how much time off they’ve used throughout the year.

When communicating, think about including information on the benefits of taking time away from the office, which can help inspire individuals to use their vacation days. Work is busy and stressful, but the ongoing communication and reminders can help encourage your staff to take the time they need.

Lead by example. As an employer, one of the best ways to encourage your team to use their PTO is by taking your own time off. Your willingness to step away from your job and find time to rest and recharge signals that you personally prioritize vacation time and understand the importance of it.

By taking time off and encouraging all leaders in your company to do the same, you help to create a culture that values time away from the daily stress of the office. With so much happening, your employees may worry that they will be judged for taking time away from their work. But, by setting an example and taking PTO for yourself, you signify the importance of it at your company.

Vacation time is an excellent way for your staff to rest and recharge, and it helps them come back to their job role more motivated and inspired. It can also prevent burnout and reduce turnover rates. However, merely giving your team PTO doesn’t ensure these benefits are used. They have to take advantage of their days off. Luckily, there are a few things that you, as the employer, can do to encourage your staff to use their time off. Vacation planning tools, ongoing PTO communication, and taking your time off can all help motivate your staff to use their days off and lead to a mentally healthier team overall.

More Information:

How can we promote our EAP to increase its usage?


National Plan for Vacation Day Toolkit – U.S. Travel Association

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