Every job takes a toll on you eventually, even if you’re one of the lucky individuals who genuinely loves showing up to work on Monday. That’s just part of how work, well, works.
Jobs can require long hours, uncomfortable and sometimes very difficult conversations, stressful dynamics with coworkers, superiors or clients, a lot of artificial light (depending on your work environment) — and more than half of all employees work more than 40 hours per week.
To some employers, it might make sense to encourage your employees to take as few days off as possible, especially when it comes to PTO. After all, more work, more money, right?
In this article, we’re going to discuss not only why every employee should be using their PTO, but why it’s actually beneficial for the company to encourage their employees to take full advantage of their vacation days.
Why does so much PTO go unused?
More than 50% of all workers in the United States have reported leaving unused vacation days on the table (a statistic that has risen in recent years). In 2018, that equated to around 768 million vacation days that were never used by employees.
There are countless reasons why different people find it difficult to use their PTO, but some of the most common reasons include:
Familial or cultural work expectations
Fear of being perceived a lazy or less committed
Fear of missing out on promotions or new opportunities
Fear of losing their job or being punished with an increased workload upon returning
Accumulation and rollover limit policies
Heavy workloads or responsibilities that others aren’t trusted to carry out
Lack of PTO awareness and understanding
If you’re one of those people who lives for your PTO and has no problem checking out of work for a week while you go live your best life, you might be struggling to understand how anyone wouldn’t take advantage of taking time off work. And yet, so many struggle to do so.
Why is PTO important?
Paid time off (PTO) is a benefit provided by employers that enables employees to enjoy time off while still receiving their regular income (you’re paid while taking time off). It can be composed of vacation days, personal days and sometimes even sick leave, with the specific policies surrounding PTO being subjective to each organization.
PTO is an essential aspect of not only maintaining a work-life balance but also allows employees the time to tend to personal matters, refresh their bodies and take care of their mental health, all without having to sacrifice their income.
By empowering and encouraging your employees to take full advantage of the PTO they’ve earned, you promote employee well-being, and workplace morale, reduce burnout and foster a healthier, happier and more productive work environment.
All of the benefits of PTO we’ve listed for employees are directly relevant to the benefits companies receive when their employees use their PTO. Some of these include enhancing employee satisfaction, improving professional loyalties, increasing retention rates and improving productivity on the financial and operational level.
It’s simple. Rested employees are better employees.
Consequences of not using PTO
Overworking your employees — even if they’re choosing to do it all on their own — can not only cost you money in the long run but cause a ripple effect of other negative consequences.
It can also lead to:
Burning out your employees (which can lead to resignation)
Reduced efficiency, productivity and creativity
Increased absenteeism or detachment from work
Decreased team morale and overall quality of work
Declining employee engagement, loyalty and retention
Damage to organizational reputation and revenue
Whether you’re on the employee or employer side of it, using PTO is always more beneficial than not doing so.
Ready to promote employee PTO?
Here at Mazzitti & Sullivan EAP, we specialize in helping you achieve personal and professional success, both in and out of the workplace.
Whether you’re an individual, a manager or researching options on behalf of an entire company, we have solutions to help you optimize your internal, employee, and otherwise professional efforts. We offer professional growth training, stress management coaching, leadership development and more.