Everyone looks forward to their summer holiday, but as a manager how can you help the inevitable fallout of workload pressures and having key team members out of the business?
In 2017, British Airways conducted research into how we treat our earned holiday from work, and startling results showed that over one third of Brits didn’t take four days of their holiday entitlement each year, and 69% of us didn’t take a two week block. 16% of respondents to the survey of 2,000 said they felt guilty for taking leave as it left colleagues in the lurch. Research by Croner House showed that a staggering 13% of the British workforce felt that they cannot take time off due to workload, and another 4% felt that their workplace would penalise them for taking time off.
Even those who are in a position where they take some of their entitlement push to complete work ahead of schedule, so they can feel they are going on annual leave with a clear desk. They do this knowing that on their return the pile will be just as large, and their emails are going to number in the hundreds. This causes the summer holiday to become more of a problem to British workers than a pleasure, and sometimes they see the easiest option being to not take the days in the first place.
This cyclical problem then increases the chance of increased sick days, and lower productivity as tired colleagues leave themselves open to decreased immune systems, and at additional risk of exhaustion.
As a manager, spreading workload, and cross training in certain areas will alleviate any potential problems over the summer break. Encourage colleagues to take their full entitlement. No one likes to work for free, and we are all guilty of doing it at some point.
Allowing colleagues to learn small elements of each others roles allows for someone to always pick up queries when someone is on annual leave. The training does not have to be comprehensive, and ensures that the team knows who to aim queries at for the duration of someone’s annual leave. This gives employees an element of peace, as they know they will not return to a firefighting situation.
Full handovers are a more sensible way of dealing with workload, than trying to make sure projects are completed. If there is the budget for it, use a temporary agency for a few days, to keep minor projects on the go if someone is out of the office for a long haul holiday.
A growing problem is that many of us ‘check in’ with work on our handheld tech when we are on annual leave, and this is a culture that is impinging on our annual leave enjoyment. Ensure as a manager that colleagues know not to do this. Their holiday entitlement is for recuperation and relaxation, and no one’s desk should never be on the beach.
As managers, it is imperative for the well being of your team to ensure they take their holiday allowance, and that when your colleagues go away on holiday, they do not take the office with them. The long term detriment to not doing this is an increase in sick leave, stress and depression, and a decrease in productivity, creativity and output.
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