Vacation time is taking a beating this year. 2020 will go down in history books as the year we didn’t go on vacation (among other things). It can be hard to convince your employees to take PTO when they’re not going farther than their sofa anyway. In many industries, employees have been working from home or taking on double or triple work to make up for furloughed workers, making the prospect of PTO with nowhere to go even less enticing.

But vacation time is still valuable, and some of the reasons why may surprise you. Here are three reasons you should encourage—and maybe even require—your employees to take their vacation time.

Vacation time reduces fraud

Sending your employees on vacation could save your company money. Workplace fraud and crime costs businesses millions each year, with small and midsize businesses taking the majority of the financial hits.

So how does sending your employees on vacation help prevent fraud? Dive into the details and it all starts to make sense. Employees who take a long vacation are less likely to steal from the company, whether their fraud of choice is taking home supplies or siphoning off funds with shady computer work, because someone else has to do their job while they’re gone.  Put fresh eyes on a situation during a two-week paid vacation, and suddenly any strange practices or missing items will come to light.

The FDIC actually recommends banks have a two-consecutive-week vacation policy for this very reason. Long vacations make it harder to commit long-term fraud.

Vacation time increases your employees’ knowledge and productivity

No, not because you’re sending them on work retreats—just the opposite! This plays into the scenario outlined above. When you send an employee on a long vacation, someone else has to step in and cover their job. Whether that job is decorating cakes, fixing air conditioning units, or analyzing data, cross-training another member of the team to take on that role builds the strength of your overall team.

You now have employees who have fresh ideas and insight into positions throughout their department. You also have a team which is resilient and ready to take on absences due to illness, terminations, or other crises. One person’s vacation can certainly contribute to the greater good of the team, over time!

Staycations can be just as relaxing — if not more relaxing — than “real” vacations

Maybe policy change isn’t on the board right now, and you aren’t going to mandate everyone takes all of their PTO this year . No problem—you can still encourage your employees to enjoy a staycation, and your company will reap the benefits of their relaxation when they return.

Take the opportunity to share the meaningful ways a staycation could improve their life and mental wellbeing. Since many employees might not see themselves moving beyond the sofa, staycation ideas could be a fun topic for your HR communications.

Take a look at the perks your company offers which could provide some staycation fun and growth for your employees. Your company may offer access to mindfulness apps, exercise and yoga videos, or discounted memberships for media subscriptions. Meditation, yoga, finishing a few must-read books, or learning a hobby they’ve always had a secret hankering to know: these are all fabulous staycation ideas for your employees which can be genuine stress-reducers during time off and beyond.

Adding tips and tools for employees to improve their downtime, and encourage them to take their PTO, is an easy way to boost the open rates and engagement of your Human Resources communications. Continuing to build more engaging and employee-first messaging will help enhance your more business-like communications, as your communications continue to gain trust and interest from your employees.

WBD can enhance your employee communications, with tools built right into our benefits administration platform which can help you connect with your team all year long. Contact us for details!

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