How To Get Staff To Take Useful Leave This Christmas

22nd Jun, 2020 | Trends, Data & Insights

Christmas is traditionally, a time for employees to relax, unwind and recharge for the new year.

Unfortunately for many, this relaxation is no longer a reality. 57% of people feel overworked by the time Christmas rolls around.

It seems they’re either experiencing stress around Christmas nullifying the break, or depending on their industry, working through Christmas as their busiest period. This is leaving 57% of people feeling overworked.

Staff aren’t getting to recharge from the demands of the previous 12 months and it’s costing businesses $190b a year.

To start your new year off right it’s important that you’re encouraging and supporting your employees to get some rest.

Why is leave important?

The best staff work hard, and rest hard. Rest allows people to perform better for longer and making space for extended rest via annual leave is one of the easiest ways employers can get the best out of their staff.

Well-rested staff are:

  -More productive

  -Better at creativity and problem solving

  -Are more positive to work with

  -Less accident and mistake prone

  -Take fewer unplanned days off

Why Aren’t People Taking The Leave They Need?

Travel site, Expedia, conducts a yearly global survey examining how people treat annual leave. Last year Australians left 25% of their days off unused while Kiwis had 5% more days they could have taken.

It turns out, as Christmas approaches, people are either:

– burning themselves out and not taking enough time to recover

– filling the leave they do take with exhaustive Christmas activities

– working through Christmas and continuing to forego leave in the new year

So why aren’t people taking the leave that they’re entitled to and so obviously need?

Barriers To Leave:

There are a number of reasons that staff may forego leave, and by-and-large they relate to feelings of fear. Around Christmas-time the pressure of Christmas expenses, a year’s worth of exhaustion or peak periods can enhance these feelings.

The main reasons staff horde or ignore leave include:            

Ego:  They’re afraid they’ll be replaced.
Management Climate:  They’re afraid their boss will devalue them
Lean operations: They’re afraid they’ll let everyone down.
Shortcuts: They’re afraid they’ll be caught out.

Removing Barriers To Leave

We know leave is important for employee performance, but we also know that many of our best performing employees are reluctant to take leave. So what can businesses and their  managers do to encourage leave within their teams?

Promote Leave
Openly encourage leave in discussion and example
By actively encouraging leave and leading by example and taking your own, staff will naturally understand that leave taking is viewed positively and they have nothing to lose by taking it.

Create Flexible Working Arrangements

Give Staff More Control Over When They Are At Work

In creating more flexible working opportunities, employees are given more control over when and where they do their work. This not only demonstrates positive views over leave but makes employees feel empowered to take it, and trusted to perform. This can alleviate fear around being replaced or seen as lazy.

Create Space For Leave To Be Taken

Bring In Temporary Staff To Pick Up The Slack

To alleviate hesitations around being a burden to colleagues, employers can reassign must do tasks to contingent workers. By bringing in temporary staff for a few days or even hours, can mean that important tasks are still being completed cheaply without putting pressure on other staff members. This allows staff to take guilt-free leave.

Overall, taking steps to encourage appropriate leave around Christmas and the new year is important for effectiveness in both your business and its staff.