Summer will be ending soon (*sigh*) and due to the pandemic, many workers have let it slip by without taking a vacation.

Even though working remote can make it difficult to separate work life from home life, many employees don’t see the point in taking time off just to stay at home, and the pandemic has made it difficult to travel, which is normally a large driver when considering taking time off. However, employers worry that employees who are reluctant to take time off will only add to the stress, anxiety and other mental health issues caused by COVID-19.

As an employer, reiterating these points to your HR team will be beneficial — for everyone — in the long run:

  • Unplugging from work is important. Employees may not be able to lay on a beach with their toes in the sand, but it is important to fully disconnect from work.
  • Acknowledge that the pandemic is creating impacts on mental health and that you fully support employees taking time off to recharge. Even a couple of days off will be beneficial for a lot of employees.
  • Be clear about pre-travel inquiries. Asking employees to disclose travel plans might discourage them from taking time off, so if you inquire about their time off, clarify why you’re asking. You don’t want claims that the PTO policy was applied unfairly or discriminatorily.
  • Winter will be here soon. As an HR team, brainstorm and share with employees ideas for ways they can beat the winter blues, stay engaged and stay physically and mentally healthy — e.g. getting outside, connecting with co-workers, connecting with friends, taking time away from work.

By Sonja Burnside, HR Generalist, Keyser