Boost Productivity With More Vacation Time

It might seem counterintuitive, but doling out more vacation time could be the foundation of a successful business.
Founder, BackPocket COO
April 27, 2012

Somewhere along the line, not taking vacation time turned into a badge of honor. At dinner parties, people brag about how much time they’ve banked or feign exhaustion at the streak of consecutive days they’ve put in at work.

I’ve never been one to judge, but I have to say this is exceedingly lame. Taking no time off doesn’t prove that you’re working hard, it just proves that you don't have your priorities straight.

Giving Everyone a Break

I have no problem taking vacation time. I love my job, but I also love a lot of other things in life. My job is the means for me to do these things. So if I treat myself to ample vacation time, it’s only fair that I extend the same thing to my employees. Generous vacation time is one of the biggest contributors to creating a world-class company culture, which I believe is the foundation of a successful business.

When my clients ask for a number, I tell them five weeks.

That’s usually when they start ranting about wasted productivity or pointing at the calendar already packed with government-mandated holidays and say five weeks is overkill. But I explain to them that working more isn’t the same as working effectively.

The Dangers of Burnout

Tired, burned-out employees aren’t just useless, they’re downright destructive. Sloppy errors, missed deadlines and mediocre work are not the kind of efforts that grow companies. A generous vacation policy allows everyone to recharge and keep enthusiasm high.

I would even go a step further by encouraging you to educate staff members in how to wring the most out of their vacation time. Some tips I give to my employees include:

  • Spread your time off throughout the year.
  • Make sure to take time off during the mid-winter to combat the winter blues.
  • During the summer, consider using vacation days to create long weekends for small getaways.

Another huge advantage of providing generous time off is how easy it makes attracting and retaining talent. Never underestimate the power of vacation time when employees are choosing places to work.

It’s complex math, but it makes sense: To get more out of your employees, give them more time off.

Photo credit: Thinkstock