How can I encourage my employees to take their annual leave?

I have a number of employees who fail to take their annual leave, this may be because they are busy or feel obligated to the business. As our small business can often become busy and hectic I would like to encourage my workforce to take annual leave; how can I best do this?

For many employees, there is a fear that stems from the fact that they do not want to leave the office and risk falling behind on their work. As a result, employees tend to postpone their holidays or refrain from taking one all. Additionally, employees can lack organisation when it comes to requesting holidays due to their busy work schedules, consequently leading to a bulk of annual leave at the end of the year that cannot always be accommodated.

Everyone deserves time off to re-energise their mind and body. As an employer, you should create a working culture that encourages employees to take their accrued annual leave. Discuss the benefits of going on holiday with your employees and make them aware that any existing work will be divided between other members of the team in their absence to prevent them worrying about returning an overload of work. Not only will this improve personal health, but for your business, it is a positive step in forward in helping to create a more efficient and happy workforce.

Additionally, try building employee incentives for reaching targets or demonstrating excellent performance that centre around  taking extra time off, whether that is getting to leave an hour early or working a half day. This will serve as a reminder to employees of both the benefits of working hard and the importance of taking personal time. 

As an organisation, it may also be advantageous to devise an annual leave policy that stipulates when employees need to use their holidays by, reminding them that busy periods, for example summer holidays can be booked up fast, so they should get their requests in early. There is also the opportunity to implement a buy back scheme on untaken annual leave; however there should be a limit on the number of days employees can buy back. Furthermore, this should be a secondary measure, whereas encouraging employees to take holidays is your first.

Every worker should be encouraged to make full use of their annual leave. Not only is it beneficial to the individual with regards to their health and wellbeing, but for your business it can make all the difference, as a well-rested employee is a more productive and happier employee.

David Price is managing director of Health Assured.

Further reading on holidays

David Price

David Price is CEO of Health Assured:

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Annual leave

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