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Leave Management: Boosting Work-Life Harmony

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For many, it can sometimes feel like an impossible goal to achieve a healthy balance between work and leisure. The high pace of work combined with today's digital tools mean that many employees are connected far beyond traditional working hours, which makes it more difficult for them to take a long-awaited break.

Despite the potential obstacles, it is important for both the employees and the organization to create opportunities for time off. A well-thought-out leave management strategy can help you create a healthy balance between work and leisure for your employees, resulting in a productive and engaged workforce.

How employee leave benefits the workplace

Although the employees are given time off to create a balance between work and leisure, there are many who do not make full use of this. According to a survey conducted by the U.S. The Travel Association reported that 52 percent of employees had unused vacation days left over at the end of the year.

Lately, employees may have been even less inclined to take time off, as shutdowns and travel restrictions have led to limited vacation opportunities. But even if the employees are not going on a traditional "holiday", they can still benefit from taking time off. By encouraging employees to take time off, the company and the employees can achieve the following benefits:

  • Fewer cases of burnout

A recent Spring Health survey shows that 76 percent of employees feel burned out at work, and nearly one in three say that paid time off would help them avoid or reduce burnout. Employees who are free to relax can explore interests, hobbies and other activities that allow them to reduce stress and return to work refreshed. When employees get more time away from the office, both in the form of vacation and sick leave, they are better able to take care of themselves and their families.

  • Lower costs for health services

Researchers at Harvard University have found that workplace stress costs American businesses up to $190 billion in additional health care costs each year. By offering your employees time off work to deal with stress, you not only help them feel better - you can also help them avoid the health costs associated with stress-induced physical and mental illnesses such as depression, heart disease and high blood pressure.

  • Higher productivity

Employees who feel stressed, overworked and in need of a better balance between work and leisure can be distracted at work, which affects productivity. But when the employees take time off, they get the opportunity to pay attention to other parts of their lives than work. When they return, they may be less distracted and more ready to focus on work-related goals.

How to encourage balance between work and leisure through leave management

A survey carried out by Deloitte shows that only 23 per cent of companies believe that they have the best solutions in place to support the balance between work and leisure. To support your employees and achieve the many benefits of effective leave management, you should consider the following measures:

  • Establish guidelines for leave management.

The Leave Management Policy gives you an opportunity to communicate the importance of taking time off and the organization's commitment to supporting a healthy balance between work and leisure. The guidelines also clarify which types of leave are available, how employees can request leave and see the balance, and what happens to unused leave. For example, it is common for the leave guidelines to distinguish between sick time and vacation time. Employees should be able to enjoy their vacation instead of having to use it when they're sick."

  • Monitor employee absences regularly.

By following the employees' absences, you can get a better overview of when the employees take time off, and when there may be a problem. For example, you can see which employees have accrued the most holiday, or who have gone the longest without taking time off. Dashboards that help managers see these numbers in real time can enable more fruitful conversations with employees, including by encouraging employees who haven't taken their time off to take time off.

  • Remove the barriers that prevent employees from taking time off.

There can be several factors that affect the employees' ability to take time off. For example, there may be a lack of mutual training, so that one employee is the only one who can perform certain tasks. You could also offer employees a payout for unused vacation, which could encourage them to save time instead of taking it. This can lead to time off being stigmatised, and the employees eventually becoming uncomfortable with asking for time off.

It is important to remove these barriers, so that employees can work in an environment where taking time off is not only accepted, but welcomed. Even in states that require paid time off upon termination, you can institute policies that specifically encourage employees to take time off within a certain time frame each year.

  • Make sure the leaders lead by example.

Company managers can set the tone for a balance between work and leisure by prioritizing this themselves. When managers take time off and encourage their employees to do the same, the employees will experience it as a natural part of the work culture. Managers can also regularly encourage employees to strike a healthier balance between work and leisure time one-on-one and in team meetings.

Support your employees with effective leave management

In conclusion, IceHrm underscores the significance of a well-crafted leave management strategy in fostering a healthy work-life balance. Encouraging time off not only benefits employees' well-being but also contributes to reduced burnout, lower healthcare costs, and heightened productivity.

Try IceHrm today and witness the work-life balance that you always wanted among the employees.

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