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Encourage PTO

Author: Jojo Varona

Taking time off from work is key to a successful work environment. HR professionals are urging managers to think creatively about how to encourage their employees to use their PTO. It is probably not the best idea at this time to take traditional long vacations, but employees should be taking time off from work at regular intervals. It is important to do for physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

Here are a couple of pointers.

Focus on Shorter Breaks

Encourage employees to take off half days, a day in the middle of the week, or a Monday or Friday to extend the weekend. I love taking time off during the middle of the week to take care of some personal matters that I wouldn’t normally be able to do at the end of the day or on weekends.

Managers can suggest to employees on things they can do: get all their medical appointments taken care of before the year ends; do volunteer work; engage in self-care or their hobbies.

Give Permission to Take Time Off

Employees often postpone PTO because they worry about who will take up the slack while they are out. Managers can meet with their staff prior to them taking PTO can brainstorm with them about who in the company can take over each task, project or client while they're out. This would reassure the employee that they can truly take time off to relax with family without feeling guilty or stressing out about checking e-mail and phone messages.

Lead by Example

One of the best ways for managers to encourage their staff to take time off is by taking PTO themselves. Managers are also encouraged to be vocal about taking shorter amounts of time off. When managers are intentional about making time for themselves during the day—blocking time to eat lunch, regularly scheduled personal development, being strict with their work and nonwork hours—their teams can follow suit.

It's important to start having conversations about holiday plans with staff now, even if it's just small talk about how they plan to take a break before the end of the year. If they start planning their time off now, so managers can plan for coverage.

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