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It’s Not Just a Day Off: Five Things to Know About Holidays, Home Time, and Productivity

Fully a quarter of all US workers do not receive paid holidays off, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. None. Zero. Zilch. If that doesn’t shock you, it really, really should. But, maybe we’ve made this too impersonal. Maybe we need to take a closer look. Because, of course, it’s not “US workers” that are losing out on time with their families and loved ones. It’s people. And, of course, the biggest mistake any employer or company can make is to think of their employees as “workers” and not as “people”.

Now, you may have some concerns about losing productivity from days off and we get you. Having workers home for the holidays means you will have down time. However, in this blog we’ll explore how holiday time off can actually boost productivity of your work force, which holidays you should be giving workers off, how holiday time off can boost workforce retention, questions around time off and remote work, and what you can do to reduce pressure on businesses to open on the holidays.

Promote Productivity

First up, time off can boost worker productivity. Don’t believe me? Ask Forbes at this link. Time off not only boosts productivity, but health, and even lifespan. It’s such a big deal that some companies have even started paying workers bonuses to take all their vacation time. We’re not advocating for that, here. But, hey, you do you.

How Many Holidays?

Alright. So, holidays and vacation are important. But, what holiday time off should you be giving? Well, according to this article, among workers that get paid holiday time off, 45% of workers get 7 or less paid holidays off while 55% get 8 or more. Strictly for the purposes of labor force retention in this tight labor market, you’ll want to be in that top 55%. Eight days would allow you to give the pretty-much-expected Labor Day, Memorial Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas plus Christmas Eve, the day after Thanksgiving, New Years Eve, and New Years Day.

Hire the Best, Keep the Best

Next up, with lots of jobs out there and not a lot of workers, workforce retention is a huge hot-button issue. For a deep dive into a whole host of employee retention strategies, check out this article. Holiday time off and PTO strategies in general are incredibly important to employee retention with 95% of Millennials and Gen Z (read: 95% of your new employees from now on) considering work-life balance highly important according to workforce studies. If you want the best staff on board, consider giving the best holiday time off.

Remote Work and Holidays

Now, you may be thinking that all this is moot. Doesn’t the move to remote work preclude any need for PTO/Holidays/Vacations? Well. No. Holiday time off is exactly that. Time off. Working remotely is still working. So, while having a flexible or fully remote work option is important in attracting and retaining a healthy and effective work force, it’s not a replacement for having holiday time off. Holidays and vacations provide time for workers to rest, recharge, and refocus. And that, in the long run, is proven to save money and improve your business.

What Can You Do to Take the Pressure Off

Last up, what can everyone do to take pressure off businesses to stay open over the holidays? Simple, really. Don’t patronize businesses on holidays. There is absolutely no reason, after all, that you need to go to IHOP at midnight on Christmas. The line cooks, management, and wait staff all have families, after all, and would probably love some holiday time off to spend with them. But, it doesn’t just stop there. Supermarkets, gas stations, and department stores all frequently have holiday hours when anyone could (and should) just get their groceries, gas, and gifts in the days leading up to the holiday.

Everyone, from the kids sweeping stores to the CEOs making sweeping business decisions, deserves holiday time off. Every business can benefit from it. So, take a minute. Open a conversation with HR about how holidays can positively impact the bottom line. Spread the joy.


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