Most employees look forward to the summer months, whether they're planning on taking some much-needed vacation time or spending more time with their kids while they're off from school. Yet employers with inflexible or outdated paid time off (PTO) policies can make it difficult for them to enjoy the restorative nature of summertime.
A 2018 study performed by Project Manager indicates that at least some workers are concerned that taking PTO would place their jobs in jeopardy. This is a benefit that millions of employees have lost because of a lack of support from their employers.
Taking a Stand for Flexible PTO Benefits
Paid time off is something that all employees need at some point to recover from the stresses of work and experience greater work/life balance. Making it hard to take advantage of this employee benefit certainly doesn’t make a workplace more productive. In fact, PTO might bring in more revenues when employees aren't burned out and suffering from poor priorities.
There are many advantages to offering flexible PTO for your employees, including:
- Greater employee loyalty and engagement: Employees feel valued and respected by their employer when they're offered flexible time off for their personal needs.
- Less stress and conflict within the workplace: Employees are more likely to return ready to work toward company objectives when they've had a chance to get away from work stress caused by customers and co-workers. Less stress also means fewer illnesses, injuries, absences, and tardiness, which are the biggest signs of trouble and can cost a company a lot in healthcare-related claims.
- Recruitment and retention improvement: Flexible paid time off programs attract high-level candidates who enjoy active lifestyles, and this is an important factor in recruitment efforts. Flexible PTO also helps retain more employees who have other commitments, like raising a family or going to college.
- Empowerment for employees to make healthy choices: Employees can and will take time off to attend to personal health and wellness needs when flexible PTO is in place, especially during the summer months. This translates to fewer illnesses, less missed work time, and less breakdown of team collaboration.
Paid time off can be one of the most valuable yet least expensive employee benefits you can offer to your employees.
Ways to Improve Your Summer PTO Policy
You can offer various arrangements and incentives to workers to ensure that they get their time but your workplace nonetheless remains productive.
- Offer at least one flexible paid day off to all employees over the course of the summer.
- Consider implementing a "Summer Friday" program during summer months, offering them paid Fridays off on a rotating schedule so you're never shorthanded.
- As an alternative, you might give employees half-day hours on Fridays. Fridays don't have to be written in stone, and they don't work for everyone. Some employees might prefer a different day of the week for personal reasons. You can let them choose which day of the week they want to use.
- Let employees know that they can take a 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 to encourage employees who haven't yet scheduled vacation time to do so now.
- Employees don't actually have to have paid time off. Let them "save up" hours during the week, maybe coming in early or working a little later. They can then use their accumulated "earned" time for a day off.
- You might also want to reward employees who step up to the plate to fill in the gaps when others are taking time off.
These efforts will allow for greater staff planning so management knows in advance who plans to be out on short periods of leave over the summer. Temporary staffers or other team members can cover for the missing employees when necessary. Flexible paid time off is a win-win for everyone.