Health & Wellness

4 Powerful Methods to Encourage Employees to Take Vacation That Really Work

By Mike Ramage on July, 3 2023
4 minute read

Stay up to date

Smart employers know that employee vacation time is a key component of employee wellness. When employees get some time away from work, they return rested and ready to tackle their job with renewed energy and creativity.



However, you may notice that your employees are hesitant to take a vacation, even though they are entitled to paid time off. This is especially the case for the younger workers in your team. 

According to a recent article, Millennials overwhelm themselves with work and prioritize work over rest. They are highly likely to give up their vacation time because they feel there is too much work to do or they fear being replaced. As an employer, you know that employees who take vacations return refreshed, energized, and more focused and productive. 

So here are four simple ways to encourage employees to take time off.

How to Encourage Your Team to Use Employee Vacation Time


1. Have a Clear Employee Vacation Policy

First, make sure your employee vacation policy is clearly outlined. A clear and available to all policy shows that you, as the employer, value the importance of vacation time for employees. If your employees feel supported in taking their vacations, they are more likely to use them.

To create a vacation policy, first, check what the mandatory minimums are for your province. Your policy must meet these. However, employers have the option to offer more than these minimums. You can build in health and wellness days in addition to annual and statutory holidays. 

Also, consider having a "shutdown" or slower pace during holidays, like the week between Christmas and New Year, which gives your employees extra time off while still receiving full pay.

Finally, when it comes to workload, ensure you prepare for who will handle the vacationing employee’s work while they are away and how they will be transitioned back to work when they return.  


2. Make Vacationing Part of Workplace Wellness

A culture of workplace wellness is critical to encouraging a positive atmosphere and a productive team. Build vacation into this culture. You already know that vacation is important, but simply knowing this information isn't enough. You must communicate the benefits to your team, or they may hesitate to take time off.

You can share the mental/emotional benefits of vacation with them, such as stress reduction and improved mood, while emphasizing physical health benefits. For instance, let your employees know that vacations lower the risk of heart disease


3. Don't Tolerate Vacation Shaming

Vacation shaming occurs when co-workers, or even bosses, discourage people from taking vacations. Even if this is done in a joking manner, the result is that employees feel guilty for taking time off. Millennials are particularly susceptible to vacation shaming and may feel pressure to avoid vacations as a result. 

And unfortunately, it happens more often than you might think. Did you know that 59% of Millennials report feeling shamed for taking a vacation. By openly communicating the importance of vacations, having a plan in place to handle the workload, and supporting workers when they take time off, you can help prevent these attitudes.

If every employee feels free and able to take regular vacations, it’s less likely they will shame others for doing so. 


4. Take Your Own Regular Vacations


One of the easiest ways to communicate the value and benefits of vacations to your employees is to take your own and set boundaries around your time off. By doing this, you empower your employees to do the same. You will also experience the same renewed energy and focus when you take your own vacations, which is a plus for the organization as a whole.

Be sure to unplug during your vacation, and make sure your employees know you are out of reach while you are gone. This will encourage them to do the same when taking their own vacation time, so they can truly rest.



Taking regular vacations has never been as important as it is today. 

Employees are dealing with increased demands at work, and things are happening at a faster and faster pace. Helping your team take the time to unplug rest, and recharge is crucial in maintaining a healthy organization. 

Don’t allow fear or negative attitudes to prevent your team from taking the time that is rightfully theirs. Encourage employees to take vacations to create a better workplace for all. When your employees feel supported in taking time off, the benefits will reach the entire company.

Employee Wellness 101: How Healthy Employees Lead to Healthy Returns

Discover how you can improve the well-being of your employees and improve your company's bottom line with a wellness program.