There was an article I read recently on Linkedin that was written by a CEO of a company named after himself. There were several ideas on hiring that he had that I totally disagreed with but the one that totally surprised me was his opinion that unless an employee’s out of office template provides information on where they are and how to reach them while they are taking time off, they should not remain employed.
Apparently, this person’s idea is that once you are employed, the company owns you and all your time, regardless of whether the time they are claiming is your personal time to refresh and reset – ON VACATION.
Since his post is public there may be a few really smart candidates that would have wanted to work with him and his company that are now thinking twice. People that work and especially those that work hard, deserve time off. When you have devoted employees working for you, there are times when their work is taking time away from their families. When they leave the office, this time should be their own to do as they wish with; that could be to be with their family or to be alone (as not everyone has a family, lives near their family or is “consciously-coupled”).
One of the best ways to motivate employees is to make sure that there is a fair time-off policy in place and that when it is availed off, managers do not give a the employee a hard-time. They are making use of a benefit that they deserve and was agreed upon upfront when the job was offered and accepted. There definitely needs to be a hand-off procedure in place for the work they are involved in, which the employee is responsible for acting upon.
There have been cases in the past, where I have given direct reports extra days off after a long-haul project has been handed over to the client. It is a great way to show appreciation for the effort as well as ensure that the effort will be there the next time another project stretches employees thin. They know you care for them and will take care of them when the time comes. This reward builds camaraderie, loyalty, and respect.
C-levels, managers, anyone with direct reports – please, don’t think that giving people a hard time for taking leave or having an atmosphere where taking time off is frowned upon – makes people work harder. It doesn’t. It makes employees resentful especially if upper management is seen to be taking their time off (and more) while they languish in the day-to-day.