Woman on beach vacation

One of the most common misconceptions about employee productivity is the idea that more is always better: more hours at work, more time answering emails, more projects and deadlines. Even when employees take time off, they’re increasingly expected to remain available and work from vacation. This status quo isn’t healthy for employees or companies; it causes frustration and burnout, creates an oppressive workplace culture, and actually leads to less productivity and profitability over time.

All employees need ample time to detach from work and recharge. The companies that don’t respect this need will quickly discover that the extra hours they’re squeezing out of employees aren’t worth the risk of burnout and turnover. Meanwhile, companies that encourage employees to use all their PTO and allow them to enjoy their time off without interruptions from work will see higher levels of engagement, employee retention, and productivity. In a tight labor market, generous PTO policies and healthy culture around PTO offer a crucial competitive advantage.

Employees increasingly expect companies to offer holistic benefits, from mental health support to flexible PTO policies that meet each individual’s unique needs. HR professionals have to demonstrate that the company is genuinely committed to the wellbeing of its workforce, which means ensuring that employees take the vacation time they need—without expecting them to work.

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