Employees are taking less paid time off (PTO) this summer than they would have before the pandemic started. With travel restrictions in place, options for a getaway are limited. With everything that is changing due to COVID-19, sometimes employees do not know what to do with an extended vacation of a week or more. Additionally, many workers are saving their time for a future need, such as health or childcare.
To say it is a stressful time is an understatement. Mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and the fears surrounding them, can affect the workplace in a variety of different ways. This can influence an employee’s performance, safety consciousness, and relationships with co-workers. In these uncertain times, it might seem counter-intuitive to take time off, but time away from work helps in improving productivity, lowering stress, and reducing absenteeism.
It could be problematic for employers if a large number of workers hold onto their leave until the end of the year. Employees could also end up losing their earned time at the end of the year if their PTO plan is "use it or lose it." Employers will want to review PTO rollover rules and perhaps extend the window at the end of the year in which workers can use their time off.
This summer, let employees know that it is okay to use PTO. It does not have to be a lot of time; even a half-day on Friday or a full-day here and there will be beneficial. Encourage your team to unplug on the weekend.
Employers must continue to think about the well-being of their employees. Employers should foster a culture that helps employees be healthy and encourages workers to take advantage of the resources and benefits available to them.