With the warm weather comes daydreams of vacations and dips in employee productivity. Recently, a survey of a British staffing agency showed 68% of employees admit to spending a significant part of their workday thinking about their impending holidays and 25% of respondents acknowledged a drop in their productivity.
That’s not unusual. When fine weather finally hits, even the most disciplined of us find it difficult to block thoughts of canoes and cottages.
At The Bagg Group, we advocate vacations. They are all the more important in a recession when employees need a break from a heavy workload and office stresses.
Across Canada, most companies offer an average of 17 annual vacation days. That’s down two days from 2007, but still three more than Americans, according to a 2008 Expedia survey of employed workers in North America and Europe
In Europe, the practice has always been to provide significant time off. In 2008, employees in Great Britain typically got 26 days off, a two-day increase over 2007, and Germany, Spain and France saw increases of one day, with workers receiving 27 days, 31 days and 37 days respectively.
Recruitment agencies in the GTA concur that there are three reasons to encourage employees to take their vacations:
Vacation help reduce burnout: Rest and relaxation is the best way to re-charge the batteries.
Vacations promote creative thinking: Often, in stepping away from a situation, you can see it more clearly and so come up with better solutions.
Vacations improve work/life balance: A holiday is a time for employees to reconnect with families and personal interests and increased quality of life can lead to increased quality of work on the job.
Still, daydreaming and vacationing employees can add up to a seasonal headache for managers and hiring authorities who must ensure smooth operations, regardless of the temperature outside. As staffing solution experts, here are some tips that we have shared successfully with top employers in the GTA.
Create work schedules for the summer frame of mind: Allow flexible work hours that let workers start and finish the day earlier. In this way, workers complete eight-hour days at the office and still have time to enjoy the sunshine
Post a visual chart showing who is absent when: This is useful for colleagues, and helps managers ensure key employees are not on holiday at the same time.
Have employees compile a list of clients, suppliers, and anyone else who may need to be contacted in case of an emergency: This list is useful year-round, and the summer holiday is a great incentive for the employee to put it together.
Cross train employees to take over duties of others: Have employees prepare a list of their major duties and step-by-step instructions on how to fulfill these. But put on hold those tasks that can wait a week. It’s not helpful to to overburden colleagues left behind.
Consider hiring temporary staff or contract workers: This ensures continued smooth operation, and allows the other employees to focus on their work. Also, it helps the vacationing employee who can suffer a bad case of post-holiday blues if returning to work that has piled up.
Look for opportunities to celebrate summer: After our long winter, we do need to make the most of summer. Consider holding one-on-one meetings at a patio or allowing Bermuda short and sandal days.