Posts Tagged ‘vacation’

Unlimited PTO – Is It Right For Your Company?

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

Business executives and HR professionals alike continue to explore ways to improve their organizations’ culture to drive both employee engagement and business results. One such way is by providing employees increased flexibility to improve the balance between their work life and personal life. The following information will provide key insights to help guide you in contemplating the very popular benefit of Unlimited PTO.  As your organization’s HR Business Partner you will want to be driving this conversation, not simply reacting to it.

What You Should Know about Unlimited PTO Plans

  • Unlimited PTO is a very popular topic these days.  But despite all its popularity only approximately 1% of U.S. companies* have an unlimited PTO plan in place.  This is clearly not a trend!
  • This 1% includes the likes of Netflix, GE, and LinkedIn. These are all well managed and results based businesses that compete aggressively for very targeted highly qualified and talented employees. These organizations also offer top tier compensation and benefits to their employees.  In consideration for these rewards, employees typically work very long days each week to achieve the desired results.
  • Culture First: Unlimited PTO works best in organizations’ cultures that values accountability, trust, and teamwork. An unlimited PTO plan, in and of itself, is not the catalyst that will seamlessly transition your organization to this state.  You must first build a culture of trust and accountability that will support the high degree of employee flexibility that an unlimited PTO plan requires – this is critical!  (Talent Management, July/August 2016)
  • Employees that are provided an unlimited PTO benefit typically do not take any more time off than in their prior traditional plan; in some cases, they are actually taking less time.
  • A 2013 time-off study conducted by Oxford Economics revealed that U.S. workers use on average 77% of their annual PTO accounts (or 16.2 of the 21 days allotted annually – leaving nearly 5 days on the table).
  • Although employers are not seeing a noticeable uptick in days off under the unlimited PTO approach, they are noticing that employees are altering how they are taking time off. For example, more employees are taking extended 4-day weekends. This is in part because families tend to be more spread out today and travel is required to attend family events. (Fortune,  March 2016)
  • Employees have a high degree of empowerment under unlimited PTO. However, these same employees also tend to be very diligent about their PTO decisions.  They want to perform high-quality work and they are also keenly aware their organization’s cultural norms (trust, accountability, teamwork etc.) and peer behaviors. These employees tend to make responsible choices that balance out business priorities and personal needs.  In many organizations however a collaborative discussion between employee and boss is required prior to the time off.

Tips for implementing an Effective Unlimited PTO Plan

  • Link your plan to your company’s culture and values. Your values will need to include: accountability, trust, and teamwork. As mentioned above, if your current culture is void these values, you will need to lead your business through a change initiative to lay this critical foundation.
  • Provide guidelines around how time-off requests get approved. Simple guidelines can help employees know when it is appropriate or not to request time off.  This is particularly helpful in the beginning stages of your roll-out.
  • Ensure your employees know that time off is a two-way street: employees receive increased time off flexibility and in return they perform at high a level ensuring their deliverables are completed on time. Further, they ensure that their teammates don’t feel abandoned during the employee’s time away from work.
  • Consider a pilot plan and be clear with your employees of your intent. Think this through thoroughly as rescinding an employee benefit, even a pilot program, can have adverse employee relations repercussions.
  • Consider naming your program something other than “Unlimited PTO.” “Personalized PTO” may be a viable alternative or other names that convey the overarching purpose of responsible employees making good decisions about their work and time off.
  • Drive Trust: shift your attention from the clock to contributions. Focus on your employees’ results and the success of the business – not how much time your employees are taking off.

Unlimited PTO plans are not for every company, in fact, they are not designed for many businesses in their current state. Transitioning to an unlimited PTO plan requires much thought, planning, and hard work to lay the proper foundation (culture) to effectively support this type of flexible plan. Does your current culture drive results through accountability, trust, and teamwork?

Whether an unlimited PTO plan is right for your business or not, this may be the time to review your total rewards plans as well as your culture. CAI’s Advice & Resolution team can help you think through these issues to discuss the best options for your company. Learn more about the advantages of becoming a CAI member.

Rick Washburn leads the Advice & Resolution team at CAI. In his role, he advises executives and HR professionals on strategic and organizational issues, tackling subjects ranging from employee engagement to talent management. With his 25 years experience in HR management, Rick is uniquely poised to advice and lead businesses to successful HR strategies

 

 

*Source: SHRM

How to Bounce Back After Vacation in 4 Steps

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

returning to work_vacationThe summer solstice has officially come and gone, and with the onset of soaring temperatures and gas prices comes a welcome reprieve for much of the nation’s workforce —vacation. For many employees, the draw of warm weather and carefree nature of the summer months makes it an ideal time to step away from their office computers and “unplug” for a little while.

With many employees getting ready to head to the leisure spots of their choosing, it can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of stealing away from the office for a vacation. While there’s nothing wrong with taking some “me” time, it’s important to come back to work refreshed and ready to get back into the swing of things.

While a return to work following a week of blissful relaxation can be jarring, following these four tips may help make the transition from vacation back into work much easier to master.

  1. Plan ahead

Before whisking off to some tropical island, make sure you have your ducks in order at work. Communicate to your coworkers that you’ll be away so they won’t be caught off guard when you’re unavailable. In addition, try to see larger and more  difficult projects to completion before the vacation. This will not only give you a sense of accomplishment before you leave, but will also allow you a smoother reentry into the office upon your return. With the larger tasks behind you, you’re then able to take on the smaller tasks  — missed phone calls or emails that accumulated in your absence —and ease back into your normal work pace.

  1. Keep your out of office message on the first day back

You know that charming message you left on your voicemail letting inquiring minds know that for the next week you would be relaxing on a beach in the Bahamas? Leave it on your first day back. By leaving it on, you’re allowing yourself time to sift through those missed emails and sort out what projects to tackle next. Your coworkers will see you back in the office and know you’re available to help, but letting clients know may drag you into new projects and expectations too quickly. You’ll be doing yourself a favor by giving yourself undivided time to catch up on the work you missed.

  1. Get plenty of sleep

Our sleep schedules tend to get all out of whack when we go on vacation. While an erratic sleep schedule works just fine on vacation, it just won’t cut it once when we find ourselves waking up to a piercing early morning. For your first few nights back, try to get to sleep at least an hour earlier than usual to ensure you are well-rested when the alarm clock goes off.

  1. Share memories of your vacation with others

It’s only natural to want to share memories of your blissful time away. It’s likely among the precious few times of the year when you’re able to relax completely. Sharing memories of your travels will remind you of your time away and can elevate your mood, putting you in a positive mindset to take on the tasks of the day. In addition, engaging with your coworkers through your stories can build a better sense of community and translate into a more dynamic and collaborative work environment.

For additional information on ensuring your team stays productive this summer, please call a member of our Advice & Resolution team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: Ra’anan Niss.

4 Ways to Keep Company Productivity High in the Summer Months

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

work summerSummer can be full of distractions. The hot weather of the season encourages employees to dedicate fewer hours to the office or take vacations with their friends or families. Your clients may also be making vacation plans, so their requests may decrease temporarily. For these reasons, productivity during the summer months can slow down. However, with proper planning and participation from managers and direct reports, you can keep business moving as usual. Try the four ideas below to keep your company productive:

Devise a plan

Because it’s vacation season, fewer people will be in the office. Missing a few employees doesn’t mean you can’t continue company projects in an efficient and effective way. Schedule a few minutes with your employees before they take time off to discuss the tasks and assignments that need to be completed while they are away. Teamwork will be instrumental in meeting or exceeding deadlines.

Practice flexibility where you can

Many employees prefer to spend their summer evenings and free time with their friends and loved ones. Being more flexible in the summer months to allow your employees to get home and spend quality time with people outside of work will be appreciated. Several companies are partaking in the trend of letting staff members leave early on Fridays. Similar to the effects of a nice summer break, leaving early on Fridays will have your employees returning invigorated and ready to perform on Monday morning. Another option to encourage flexibility is to have your employees come in earlier or work through their lunch breaks to leave the office sooner.

Work ahead of schedule

The demands of your top clients might slow down as people begin to make plans for summer trips. Instead of waiting for a request, work on a project that has been on the bottom of your to-do list for the past several months. Be productive and efficient with the tasks you decide to tackle during the summer months. If you know of a project that you’ll be working on in the future, go ahead and start working on it. The more you get done during the slower months, the less stressed or pressed for time you’ll be in the busier months.

Have some summer fun

Maintaining stellar productivity over the summer is a goal of most companies. Although everyone is in agreement that keeping up productivity is important, summer is all about having fun. Don’t lose opportunities to engage your employees and show them that they are valued. Plan a fun activity, like a pizza party or a trip to a local baseball game, to show them that you appreciate their contributions throughout the year.

For additional tips for keeping business productivity high, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Resolution team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

 

 

6 Reasons Taking Your Vacation Will Improve Your Work Performance

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

7956465780_5fb7b6d55a_zSummer is on its way. If you haven’t taken a vacation already and aren’t planning to do so, I would ask you to consider taking your time off.

You will enjoy a number of benefits when you use your vacation days. Some people prefer to work all of the time and some people have to work all of the time, but in either case, taking some time off, even just a few days, will improve your work performance.

Productivity generally lowers during the summer months. Taking a vacation will help you avoid being sluggish around the workplace. Check out the six benefits of using your vacation time below:

  • Spending time outside of work will help you focus on the important things in your life that do not revolve around your work, such as family and friends.
  • Your mind can relax. Taking time off will allow your mind to take a break, get some rest, and work at its optimal level when you return to the workplace.
  • A good vacation is greatly beneficial for those in roles that require creative and innovative thinking. Not focusing on your busy work week will enable you to get inspired and recharge your creative energy.
  • You can use your free time to complete tasks, get errands done or dedicate to yourself. Carving out time for the things you enjoy will improve your satisfaction in other areas of your life, like work.
  • Time away from work can help you figure out an issue that is currently stumping you in the workplace. Walking away from the problem and returning after a relaxing vacation can have you looking at the same issue from a different perspective.
  • Keep yourself healthy by taking a breather from your position. Stress and pressure are released when you’re not focused on your responsibilities at work, which allows you to sleep better, concentrate longer and be happier.

Make sure to use your vacation time this summer. For any questions regarding vacation time and its many benefits, please call CAI’s Advice and Resolution team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: Kevin Dooley

 

 

 

5 Tips to Keep Productivity High During the Holidays

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

holiday breakMany people use their vacation days to take extra time off from work in December in order to spend quality time celebrating the season with their family and friends. Because of the excitement that is generated during the holidays, employee productivity can temporarily decrease. However, putting off work before your vacation means you’ll have more work to complete when you make your way back to the office.

Incorporate these five tips in your work routine for the next several days so you can enjoy your time away, instead of worrying about all the assignments you need to do when you return:

Prioritize Your To-Do List

Create a list of all of the tasks and projects you’d like to complete before you leave for your holiday vacation. Work hard to complete as many items on your list as you can. The more items you cross off, the less work you’ll have waiting for you when your vacation is over.

Review Calendars

Ensure that your coworkers are aware of your holiday schedule, and also make sure that you are aware of their schedules. This is especially helpful if you’re working on projects with other people. Eliminate confusion or the potential to drop the ball by tying up loose ends and coordinating due dates before you leave.

Focus on Work at Work

When getting bombarded with the exciting sights, sounds and festivities related to this time of the year, it is easy to get distracted from your work. So you don’t have to spend time on the weekend or the evening catching up on your work because you were making gift lists or looking up a holiday recipe online, focus on your work obligations when you are in the office.

Help Your Body Help You

December isn’t always the greatest month for your health. Coworkers bring goodies into the break room, people spend several hours in a day shopping, and holiday parties make nights longer than usual. To make up for all of these things, exercise and sleep more to help your brain and body stay alert and function properly.

Leave Work at Work

If you follow all of the tips above, you will likely not have to work on any of your company projects during your holiday break. Your time away from the office should really be spent focusing on your loved ones, friends and yourself. Use this time away to relax and recharge your brain so you’ll be ready to work when your break is over.

For additional ideas on how to keep productivity high at your workplace, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Resolution Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: Reno Tahoe Window Cleaning & Christmas Lights

4 Tips to Increase Workplace Productivity Over the Summer

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

summer productivityProductivity at your organization has the potential to lower during the summer months. Many factors are responsible for this decrease in efficiency. Some common culprits include employees taking time off, clients venturing on long vacations, and hot temperatures occurring. Although these factors will always be present during this time of year, there are some solutions you can incorporate to reduce a loss in productivity. Try the four tips below at your organization today:

1)      Encourage employees to take vacation

Summertime is the ideal opportunity for your team members to use their vacation days. Remind them to take some time off to spend with their family or friends away from the office. Your employees will be away for a short period of time. When they return, they’ll be rested, recharged and ready to be productive at work.

2)      Prepare backup plans

Vacation season tends to mean that there are fewer people in the office. Having fewer people around doesn’t mean that you can’t continue projects in an efficient way. Meet with employees before they take time off to discuss any assignments that need to be completed while others are away. Using teamwork will help your organization meet deadlines.

3)      Treat your employees to fun

Yes, achieving high productivity over this summer is important, but so is having fun! Plan something fun for your employees to show them that you appreciate the efforts they have made during the first half of the year.  Treating them to lunch or taking them out to a baseball game are great ways to keep them content and engaged with their employer.

4)      Be flexible when possible

Use flexibility during the summer months to keep workplace productivity high. Compressed work weeks and adjustments to start and end times are two ways to offer your employees more flexible schedules. Many companies allow their staffers to leave early on Fridays to take advantage of the summer weather and spend time with their loved ones and friends.

Summer is a fun season and may cause employees to become preoccupied with other items, like vacations or summer childcare. Keeping morale high and delegating where needed helps organizations run efficiently in the summer months. For more tips to increase your company’s productivity, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-669-7746.

Photo Source: Nazareth College

4 Tips to Enjoy the Holidays and Stay Productive at Work

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

The holidays are great for celebrating and spending quality time with your friends and family. Many people take extra time off from work during December. People often get so excited about their time off around the holiday season that they take an “early vacation” at work. Don’t slack off during this time of year. Staying alert while you’re still at the office will help you complete tasks so that you don’t return to a mountain of work.

Do these four things to make sure you can enjoy your holidays and not worry about the to-do list you must revisit when you go back to work:

Check Calendars

Don’t let the excitement of the holidays make you forget your work responsibilities. Know your schedule for the next two weeks. Do you have important meetings that you need to prepare for or a project with a looming deadline? Be up to date with your work plans so you don’t miss a beat when you’re away for the holidays.

Check Out Meeting

Be sure that you’ve completed all the projects and activities for which you are responsible. Have a check out meeting with your manager so you both are on the same page about the work items that need to be completed before the end of the year.  Doing this will prevent little fires or less than positive surprises when you return to the office.

Create a New List

Write down all the items you’d like to take care of before you leave for your winter vacation. Be productive during the days leading up to your vacation so that you’re able to complete a large portion of your list. For everything that you don’t finish, create an additional list that you’ll complete once your back at the office. You’ll return to the office with a great start if you prepare before you leave.

Clean Up

Tidy up your workspace before you leave the office to celebrate the season with your loved ones. File away loose paper and put away items that you don’t frequently use. Take out your recycling and empty storage areas. You’ll come back to work with a fresh space that encourages productivity.

For more tips to stay productive and organized at work, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: davedehetre

 

4 Tips to Beat Summeritis and Keep Your Employees Productive

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Summeritis is a common term heard among high school and college students when the warm weather season is quickly approaching. Symptoms of this seasonal disease include excessive daydreaming about trips to the beach or pool, a decreased ability in retaining information, sluggish performance and producing poor quality work. Yesterday marked the first day of summer, and you may have noticed some symptoms of summeritis floating around your workplace. While summer months tend to be slower for companies because of vacations from your staffers and clients, maintaining high productivity is still achievable. Prevent the symptoms of Summeritis in your staff by utilizing these four tips:

Plan for Vacation

With school out and an increase in nice weather, summer months are the ideal time for employees to go on vacation. Research shows that Americans are notorious for not using all of their vacation. While a strong work ethic is admirable, taking a vacation allows you to rest, recharge and come back to the office full of energy to be productive. Make sure you and your employees plan a solid vacation with family or friends.

Utilize Flexibility

Many companies are offering their workers flexibility during the hottest time of year. Some companies allow their staff to leave early on Fridays to enjoy the weather and spend quality time with people who aren’t their coworkers. Like the effects of a summer vacation, employees return to the office on Monday feeling refreshed and ready to perform again. If this set up isn’t feasible for your company, try a variation. Have employees come in earlier or work through their lunch break to leave the office sooner.

Delegate When Needed

Don’t let important tasks go unfinished because fewer people are around the office. Before an employee leaves for vacation, meet up with her to go over tasks that she is currently working on and ask her if she needs assistance while she’s away. Using strong teamwork during the summer months ensures that deliverables are met.

Have Some Fun

Keeping your workers productive during this time of year is important, but don’t ignore the fact that this is one of the most fun times of the year. Celebrate the season and all of the accomplishments your team has made throughout the first half of the year with an office party or celebratory lunch. Recognizing their efforts and letting them have some workplace fun will keep their morale high and performance stellar.

For more tips to keep you and your employees productive during the summertime, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: turbulentflow

4 Reasons Why You Should Take Your Vacation Days

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

I hope everyone enjoyed a relaxing and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend—free from work and even email! Taking vacation is underutilized by many employees, and the reasons why vary. Some workers believe that they must always be in work mode to get a promotion or even keep their jobs. Others plan poorly and realize at the end of the year that they didn’t take enough vacation and that their allotted days have expired.

Forgoing your vacation days isn’t advantageous. Taking time to unplug from work is helpful for both employees and employers because several benefits emerge from taking regular time off. Here are some of the top reasons why you should use your vacation days and encourage your staff to do the same:

Maintain Health

    • Leaving the office for several days reenergizes your mind and body. Worry and tension is released when you’re not focused on your responsibilities at the office, allowing you to sleep better, concentrate longer and be happier. Studies reveal that vacations can also reduce feelings of depression.

Prevent Stress

    • Always pushing yourself and working past your limits without breaks causes stress. The high-anxiety atmosphere you create for yourself will ultimately catch up with you, whether the result is business failure or poor health. Take your vacation throughout the year to decrease workplace stress and keep it at a manageable level.

Inspire Creativity

    • Vacations are great for inspiring creativity because your brain isn’t focused on the long list of tasks and projects you left at the office. Time off allows your brain to recharge from your busy workweek. A good recharge is especially beneficial to employees who have positions requiring creative and innovative thinking

Improve Job Performance

    • Taking your vacation time helps you return to the office fresh and motivated to take on your goals and workplace challenges. With your stress levels down and your brain fully charged, your productivity and job satisfaction will increase. Additionally, you will have a more positive outlook, which will help you nurture and maintain better relationships with your coworkers.

Cut the number of long days you spend at the office and raise your number of requests for time off this year. For any questions regarding vacation time and its many benefits, please call CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: Nicolas Mamberti

Compliance Update: Vacation Pay Regulated by N.C Wage and Hour Law

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

With the holiday season upon us, employers and HR leaders need to recognize the following when it comes to recovering vacation that has been advanced to an employee: The U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division’s position is that advanced vacation pay may not be deducted from the guaranteed salary of exempt employees.

The department regards advance vacation pay as inconsistent with deductions allowed under the definition of “salary basis” for exempt employees. A fuller explanation appears in the DOL Fact Sheet on Salary Basis.

While the N.C. Department of Labor makes no such claim, the fact is that whenever state laws differ from the federal Fair Labor Standards Act or FLSA, an employer must comply with the standard most protective to employees. Thus, the “no deduction for advanced vacation pay” rules apply here.

With that in mind, it is recommended that you do not allow advanced vacation to exempt employees if you want to recover the costs associated with this practice. Remember, ambiguous policies and practices regarding vacation pay have been construed against employers and in favor of employees.

For information on how to create an effective vacation pay policy or to discuss related issues to this item, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel team at (919) 878-9222 or (336) 668-7746.

Photo Source: The Tahoe Guy