Why you should encourage your employees to take their annual leave

A quick summary:

The first of January will mark a fresh instalment of annual leave for many. It’s become the norm for some companies to either allow their employees to sell or roll over large amounts of holiday. Of course, this provides flexibility to employees who may have had busy working years or are saving up annual leave for the following year. 

Having said this, there’s undeniable merit in encouraging your employees to take their holiday, with a recent study showing 79% of UK based employees return to work feeling less stressed after a break. Despite this, around 30% of female and 27% of male respondents hadn’t taken holiday in the last 12 months - demonstrating a clear gap. 

Here’s our top 5 reasons why you should actively encourage your employees to take their annual leave. 

Show you care 

This sits at number one for a reason. It is widely accepted in HR literature, that companies providing attractive leave policies and encourage their people to use them, experience higher rates of employee retention. Taking the time to check in on an employee, asking whether there’s a reason they’ve felt they can’t take their leave and suggesting some well deserved R&R, is a way of showing genuine care. This of course, contributes to perceived employee value and appreciation. 

Reduce stress & burnout

A tale as old as time, employees that are overworked and under rested are more susceptible to burnout. And unfortunately, burnout is still experienced by around 44% of employees. This damages to not only company output but also employee health. Taking holiday is the obvious way to mitigate the impact of work stresses and prevent burnout. In fact, 78% of bosses agree that employees come back from holiday with improved focus. 

Promote overall wellbeing 

Following on from the above, annual leave provides an opportunity for employees to nurture their overall wellbeing. Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder here, but for many this includes reflection, investing some time in a hobby or interest and spending time with loved ones. With a greater sense of balance and wellbeing, comes happier humans who are equipped to perform their best.

Set the tone for others (lead by example!)

We’ve all been there. A bright eyed colleague gets back from holiday and you feel inspired to book a break of your own. The domino effect if you will. If your culture encourages employees to skip annual leave, newcomers will follow suit. By encouraging employees to take their annual leave and leading by example yourself (studies show managers’ actions speak louder than words in this regard), you’ll be setting the new norm. 

Boost morale

Ever noticed that when you return from holiday, you bound into your first meeting with a big grin? Smiles are infectious after all. Employees coming back from leave, bright eyed and bushy tailed will not only be full of enthusiasm, and feel able to take on the world, they’ll boost the morale of those around them. 

Of course, each employee has individual needs and circumstances, which may well warrant holiday roll over or sale. However to nurture truly healthy and happy humans, we must as leaders, encourage our employees to take well deserved breaks. Heka is a wellbeing benefits platform that helps your employees feel their best, so they can perform their best. Come and say hi to her, book your demo here.