According to the Society for Human Resource Management, 35 percent of Americans don’t plan on using their vacation days this year. Why? Americans are trying to save their time off for longer trips later on.
Many struggle to find the time to take worthwhile vacations, while simultaneously accounting for sick days. It can be hard to fit the flu, Christmas, thanksgiving, and that European, bucket-list trip in less than 15 days.
Vacation time is vital for a happy workforce and stress reduction. As a result, employers are becoming craftier in trying to find new ways to reward their workforce with out-of-office relief.
The Standard Vacation Policies
1. Vacation days and sick days
This is the OG time-off policy once used by most employers. Employers offered two separate banks. One granted time off for illness and the other for vacations. While it was nice not having to sacrifice a vacation day when you had a cold, it also meant you were given fewer days to accommodate travel.
2. Paid time off (PTO)
PTO is the new standard. More than 63 percent of companies have adopted PTO policies. Rather than bifurcating sick and vacation days, all time off is lumped into one bank employees can draw from for any purpose they choose. PTO comes with several advantages. For one, it’s much easier for HR to track. It also gives employees more time to devote to longer or more frequent trips. The downside, however, is that if you use all your time for vacations, you don’t have a separate bank to draw from when you wake up sick.
Getting Creative With Time off
1. Floating holidays
Many companies are also adopting floating holidays. These floating holidays aren’t treated as a PTO day, but rather additional holidays throughout the year. Normally you are required to select which days you will take in advance. Some may tack on an extra day to their favorite holiday, while others choose to treat their birthday like the celebration it is.
2. Unlimited time off
Too good to be true? It’s not. In a showing of ultimate flexibility, some employers grant their employees an unlimited number of vacation days. Netflix and Virgin were some of the first companies to experiment, and many have followed suit. The upside is obvious: employee satisfaction, talent retention, and no need to pay out when PTO days go unused. But there’s a catch. Systems can be abused, and it requires tremendous trust and workers who can stay on top of their work.
3. Other options
The following is a list of other creative time-off policies that offer a greater work-life balance:
Why are employers granting more time off? Today’s workforce demands a work-life balance, and only companies that can offer that will attract and retain top talent. But also, employee burnout is a real thing. If people don’t take time to relax and recharge, they become less productive and less satisfied with their work.