Can More Paid Vacation Improve Productivity during a Holiday?

03 Dec 2014

Employers, especially large companies, shudder at the idea of giving employees endless time off, and sometimes for good reason. They fear it will be abused, especially during the holiday season, as life gets more hectic with all the extra activities people are involved in. From Christmas parties to visiting and housing family, there are enough distractions without giving people a free pass to skip work. There is a way to give your employees flexibility and still get work out of them without chaining them to the desk.

Offering this extra time off does require some planning ahead, but most companies can fit that in as part of their normal planning process.

Adjusting Deadlines

The holiday season is stressful enough without the worry of planning time around work to manage all the extra demands on a person's schedule. From christmas pageants, picking up family from the airport, and finding time to cook for all those holiday parties, life gets harder. This creates many more distractions and expectations for people beyond their normal work load. By making deadlines a little looser to accommodate time off and extra demands, projects don't have to be delayed by default and can be purposefully planned around people's schedules. This takes the load off of your employees and leaves your clients happy because instead of telling them you are going to miss a deadline, you schedule the deadline later to begin with and everyone is happy because expectations are set ahead of time.

Different Communication Channels

If employees are going to be away from the office more often, they are probably still available for email or meetings. Instead of walking down the hall to see them, you might need to schedule a Skype call ahead of time. This allows projects to keep moving forward despite unknown circumstances and employee schedules. If you have employees working remotely normally, this isn't news for you, but companies who are used to having employees readily available will have to make more of an effort. Meetings and phone calls have to be planned ahead of time so employees can be sure they are ready and prepared for them since they won't be in "work mode" all the time.

Changed Expectations

Because you are allowing employees to have more time off during the holidays, you are showing them more trust and that creates a different dynamic. Employees who are used to being chained to their desks and jumping through hoops to get time off don't really want to give you more time or more work because you put so many requirements and rules around their jobs. If you give more flexibility because you understand they are more than their job description, they might be willing to work harder when they come back to the office. They might even work remotely around family obligations during the holidays!

You show that you trust them and their reaction and results might surprise you by increasing productivity that you would have normally had to beg for otherwise. I know that because I have unlimited time off here, I am more willing to work longer hours because there is no penalty whenever life gets in the way of my work.