Employees Using Their Paid Time Off Benefits Everyone

  • Posted by: Emma Berdanier |
  • 7/8/19 |
  • 1:30 PM
Employees Using Their Paid Time Off Benefits Everyone

A growing trend shows employees are taking fewer and fewer vacation days, with many not using the allocated paid time off their employer’s offer them. While this may not seem like a problem, research shows that not taking time off leads to a decrease in productivity, efficiency, and amount of work completed.

Why Employees Aren’t Taking Time Off:

Recent surveys indicate that workers aren’t taking their allotted vacation time off because they’re worried their manager won’t approve their vacation time when they present it to them or they’re worried they’ll face an overwhelming workload when they return from vacation and go back to work. Some surveys even suggest that employees fear that if they take time off they might not be in as good a place to receive a promotion or even retain their job.

It appears in these surveys that the culprit of workers not taking time off is a work culture that discourages time off, to the extent that these employees believe that taking the time off they’re guaranteed in their employee agreement might hurt them in their future at that company.

Why You Should Encourage Your Employees to Take Time Off:

Studies show that employees who take time off tend to perform better and get more work done than employees who don’t. These employees also tend to have a higher rate of retention at their jobs, and tend to have both increased productivity and creativity than those employees who do not take their allotted vacation days.

A SHRM survey from 2013 surveyed various HR professionals about how they viewed different issues within employees not taking their allotted vacation days. Some of the most revealing results were:

  • 94% believe it is either extremely important or very important for achieving and maintaining a high level of employee performance
  • 88% believe it is either extremely important or very important for employee retention
  • 90% believe it is either extremely important or very important for improving employee productivity


To encourage your employees to take time off, you must establish a culture where vacation time is not seen as a perk, but as a necessity for well-being. Some potential ways to accomplish this are to:

  • Take time off yourself. If the higher-ups use their vacation days, the rest of your employees will feel that it is the culture to take time off and thus will follow by example.
  • Establish a mandatory minimum vacation policy, requiring your workers to take a certain number of days of paid time off a year regardless of whether they spend those days at the beach or at home, to ensure that they get the rest they need to come back to work fully prepared to accomplish their tasks.
  • Clearly communicate the time off policy at your company to new hires, and encourage them to use their time off when they see fit.
  • Maintain a positive culture at your company, where you briefly ask your employees about the time off they just took, simply asking what they did, to show them you’re interested in their lives outside of work and to further remind them that the time off they took was a good thing for both them and the company.
  • Assure your workers that if they take time off, their work will be disbursed to other staff whenever possible. While they may need to catch up on some of the work they've missed when they return, these expectations will be reasonable and the fear of too much work piling up shouldn't keep them from taking time off.


  • “SHRM/U.S. Travel Association: Vacation’s Impact on the Workplace.” The SHRMBlog, 15 July 2015, https://blog.shrm.org/blog/shrmus-travel-association-vacations-impact-on-the-workplace. Accessed 21 June 2019.
  • Neal, Victoria. “Unused Time Off.” HR Magazine, Summer 2019, pp. 11.
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