when taking holiday is part of the job
Global – Nearly three-fifths of employees reported negative effects of work-related stress in 2021, according to the latest data. This indicates that Covid-19 has negatively affected the time and quantity of work. Yet despite heightened stress levels, more than 50% of American workers end up leaving unused paid vacation days.
As a result, some companies are experimenting with mandatory leave policies. This means that an employee must take paid leave at least once a year. It is also possible that all this will be rewarded with bonuses if the employee uses all the allotted vacation days
The concept has been largely adopted by knowledge-based companies of various sizes (the most notable example is the financial firm Goldman Sachs). These firms say their goal is to reduce burnout and increase employee satisfaction.
While workers want to take more vacation days, many feel they can’t do so due to their workload or other factors. In response, some companies have introduced unlimited paid leave (PTO) policies. And it certainly seems like an attractive perk, but what is the reality? This policy depends on the working culture that exists in a particular company. An employee can theoretically take an unlimited number of days off, but if there is an idea in the office that it is not ethical to take time off, the employee will still overwork.
Ayana Horton, lecturer in occupational therapy at London’s Brunel University, commented on the initiative: “You can have people who just don’t take vacations and it could be because of the culture. Or you might have people who want to take a vacation but they can’t take it at a convenient time for the organization.”
Mandatory vacation allows workers to feel happier when they ask for vacation instead of worrying about looking under-employed.
“We did an analysis and realized that people were not taking enough free time because they felt guilty about leaving their team without hands,” explains Talia Esserman, head of human resources, a marketing firm from Atlanta, state of Georgia. The company originally offered unlimited vacations but switched to mandatory vacations early in the pandemic.
As more companies look for ways to improve the health and productivity of workers, can mandatory leave become an important part of the work culture?