Make the Workplace Family Friendly with Flexible Summer PTO Benefits
The summertime is something that most employees look for, whether they are planning on taking some much needed time off for a vacation or to take college classes to forward their careers. Yet, employers can make it difficult for employees to enjoy the restorative nature of the summer months with inflexible or outdated paid time off (PTO) policies. According to a 2014 Oxford Economics report, "U.S. employees used 84% of earned PTO in 2013, leaving an average of 3.2 days on the table." This is a benefit that millions of employees have lost because of the lack of support from their employers.
Taking a Stand for Flexible Paid Time Off Benefits
Paid time off is something that all employees need at some point or another to recover from the stress of work and to experience greater work-life balance. So, why are too many employers making it too hard to take advantage of this employee benefit? This stance certainly doesn’t make the workplace more productive, nor does it bring in more revenues for a company when employees are burnt out and suffering from poor priorities.
How Paid Time Off Supports a Better Workplace
As an employer, you may be wondering how paid time off contributes to greater workplace productivity and business growth? If employees are off gallivanting and not conducting work tasks, isn’t this bad for business? There are many advantages to offering flexible PTO for your employees, which can include:
- Greater employee loyalty and engagement - Employees feel valued and respected by their employer when they are offered flexible time off for their personal needs. When they are at work, they are actively engaged in tasks that benefit the company.
- Less stress and conflict within the workplace – Because employees have a chance to get away from work stress caused by customers and co-workers, they are more likely to return ready to work towards company objectives. Less stress also means fewer illnesses, injuries, absences, and tardiness, which are the biggest signs of trouble and can cost the company a lot in health care related claims.
- Recruitment and retention improvement – Flexible paid time off programs attract high-level candidates who enjoy active lifestyles, so this is an important factor in recruitment efforts. Flexible PTO also helps to retain more employees who have other commitments, like raising a family or going to college.
- Empowerment for employees to make healthy choices – When flexible PTO is in place, especially in the summer months, it means employees can and will take time off to attend to personal health and wellness needs. This translates to fewer illnesses, missed work time, and breakdown of team collaboration.
Paid time off can be one of the most valuable, yet lowest cost employee benefits you can offer to your employees.
Ways to Improve the Paid Time Off Policy in the Summer
Over the summer months, take the time to offer at least one flexible paid day off to all employees. You can set this up by communicating to employees how much you value and appreciate their hard work all year long. To make it easier, let employees know they can take this day off if they schedule it at least 48 hours in advance with their immediate supervisor. This gives the management team a chance to review paid time off usage and encourage employees who have not yet scheduled vacation time to do so now.
This allows for greater staffing planning so that management knows in advance who plans to be out on short periods of leave for the summer, so temporary staffers or other team members can cover for the missing employees. The employees who are on hand during the summer can then be trained and productivity levels will not drop. Flexible paid time off is a win-win for everyone.