Travel bans. Concern about virus variants. Increased workload due to high vacancy rates. Are your employees citing any of these reasons for an ongoing refusal to use their time off? Despite the memes about the big vaxxed summer, some employees are still staying at home — and staying logged on to work. What are some methods companies are using to help employees take much needed time off, and get those unused vacation days off their books?

Cash Incentives and Free Fridays

PricewaterhouseCoopers went with a check. The company reported they would offer their U.S. staff $250 for every full week of vacation booked, up to $1000 a year. But this was a last resort, according to their U.S. chairman, Tim Ryan, who said they’d exhausted other ways to get employees to sign out of their work email. PwC also introduced programs to help employees disconnect for the weekend, including “Fridays Your Way,” which discourages calls and meetings on Fridays. That can let more employees feel free to take long weekends.

Mandatory Time Off

Ready to get strict with using up that PTO? Turning some PTO into mandatory requirements instead of allowing it to rollover or expire at the end of the year. This can lead to some scheduling challenges, especially with companies who are experiencing labor shortages. And it must work inside of state and federal timekeeping laws. But for some companies such as Chatbooks, a mandatory five days off per quarter has proven good for everyone — including management.

Establish Work Coverage Plans

Leaving on vacation can sometimes create more stress for workers than if they just stayed at work. To alleviate the extra workload and worry that comes with heading out on vacation, management of various departments should come up with coverage plans for vacation time. By allocating a few tasks around the department, or placing some items on hold, employees will be able to take time off without doing an extra week’s work before they go — or worrying that the entire office has to find ways to do their job.

Looking for better ways to communicate with employees and track their vacation time? WBD can help! Click here for more on our Human Resources and benefits administration programs.