High gas prices and worries over job security have convinced more employees to take their vacations in short spurts this summer—a trend that might not be so good for your organization.
Studies prove that while half of all employees are able to relax within two days of leaving the office, vacations of seven days or more are associated with better psychological outcomes.
A new survey by the Kronos Workforce Institute bears that out: A whopping 39% of full-time employees admit they’ve called in sick during the summer just so they can enjoy an extra day off or a mental health day.
The practice, dubbed “seasonal absence syndrome,” has the same effect on employees who don’t call in sick: Employees who report to work feel anger and resentment that they’re left picking up the slack for absent co-workers. They feel overworked, which makes them more likely to take an unscheduled absence, too.
Here are four ways your organization can discourage seasonal absence syndrome:
1. Encourage employees to schedule vacations of a week or more. Urge supervisors to monitor their employees’ use of paid leave and to nudge those who don’t take vacations to do so.
2. Establish “summer Fridays” and allow employees to leave early or take Fridays off during the summer and holiday seasons.
3. Offer more flexibility at work, like teleworking, compressed workweeks and flextime.
4. Consider a paid time off (PTO) program that gives employees a bank of time to use at their discretion so they don’t spend unscheduled “sick leave” on vacation days.