Project Time Off: Encouraging Use of Earned Vacation Time
Increase Productivity and Retention, as well as Encourage Travel
American workers hold fast to the belief that the path to career success requires sacrificing vacation and embracing work martyrdom. But the data says otherwise. Taking time off benefits individual well-being and professional success, business performance and the economy. Project Time Off is a US Travel project aimed at encouraging unused vacation time use.
Ohio workers left 21,985,976 vacation days behind last year, with 49% of workers not using the days due to them. This cost businesses and the economy $1.9 billion. For decades, Americans used more than 20 vacation days annually. Today, US workers are averaging just 16 days a year.
Unused vacation time is a burden for companies and the economy. There is $224 billion accumulated vacation time sitting on the balance sheets of American businesses. This liability accrues annually when employees roll over unused paid time-off, and it does not include sick or personal leave.
When employees don't use their time off, research shows it affects their happiness, health, and performance at work, all which can undermine our success.
And, of course, when employees use all their vacation time, our travel economy also benefits.
What You Can Do
Don't miss being part of the solution. Attend OTA's Let's Talk! session on Oct. 10 with Project Time Off leaders as we develop best practices and potential national case studies. We'll talk about setting leadership goals, communication strategies and policy changes you can use in your own business or organization. From this discussion, we will draft best practices and a presentation to deliver to businesses throughout Ohio; businesses in all industries.
Here are a couple best practices to implement at your business to set an example for other
- Identify goals at your place of business through discussions with key stakeholders, executive leadership, human resources, communications and finance. Potential goals could include:
- increase number of employees who plan their time off by x percent
- reduce average unused days off by x per employee annually
- reduce vacation liability by x percent annually
- cross-train staff to ensure coverage for time off
- Develop a communications strategy with your CEO or top leadership to serve as a spokesperson on the topic. According to Project: Time Off research, 80% of workers said they would use more of their time off if their boss encouraged them to do so.
- Add reminders and messaging to existing internal communications, such as staff meetings, newsletters, and emails
- Choice Hotels launched a "Pledge to Plan" program in 2016 with the goal to get every associate to pledge to plan their time off.
- Regularly communicate time used and time remaining.
- Initiate incentives for those who take their vacation time.
- Make sure your PTO policy is easy to understand.