A lack of organisation has been blamed for most workers failing to use their full quota of annual leave.
New research by employment specialist Reed has found that the average worker uses up 22 days of their average 25 days allocated allowance.
A number of reasons were given for people failing to take their full allocation of annual leave but a lack of organisation was cited by many.
Wasted annual leave
Almost one in five (18%) said that excessive workloads meant they were too busy to take a break or simply forgot to book time off.
Meanwhile, one in eight (12%) said that poor management of their annual leave meant they had too many days to take at the end of the year.
If workers are unable to carry over annual leave into the new calendar year, this could mean their annual leave is completely wasted.
Two in five (45%) employees admitted to cancelling their annual leave because of work, with a quarter of respondents (24%) claiming they would rather forfeit taking the odd day the occasional day off work rather than fall behind at work.
Lynn Cahillane from Reed emphasised how encouraging employees to take time off work can improve overall productivity.
In response to the findings from the research she said although it is a positive reflection of the workforce and testament to how people value their jobs if they are prepared to put in overtime or cancel annual leave, people need to take time off to recharge themselves to maintain productivity.
Long hours culture to blame?
The UK workforce has a reputation of being workaholics for working the longest hours in Europe.
Whilst people may feel that they are doing the right thing by not using up their annual leave, the reality is that they are less productive if overworked and tired. Eventually, this could lead to workers making themselves poorly and taking sick leave or faking illness just to get time off.
Sick leave is much more difficult than holidays for employers to manage simply because it is unplanned.
Auto Time recently published a guide about how workforce management solutions can help structure the holiday planning process while automating its administration to balance the needs of the workforce and business.
The guide explained how complete visibility of workforce records, backed up by auditable data, enables managers to identify people building up large amounts of unused leave so they can encourage them to use some of their leave balance.
This not only supports the wellbeing of the workforce but allows the employer to better plan future staffing levels to accommodate demand and maintain optimum service delivery by preventing periods of understaffing caused by workers frantically trying to ‘use up’ their annual leave at the end of the year.
Self-service functions offered by the latest systems support the holiday process by providing employees with the flexibility to manage their own time and workload. With greater control of their time and visibility of the holiday planner and schedules workers can better plan their holidays for approval.
So, what can you do to encourage staff to use their holiday leave?
When it comes to annual leave it’s wrong to assume that it is good news if your staff do not use their full holiday entitlement.
Yes, it may make your life easier having a regular team in place every day, but over time it can impact your performance if staff feel overworked and undervalued.
More often than not, poor holiday planning stems from the culture within your organisation, making employees feel as though taking time off is wrong.
So ask yourself – do staff feel comfortable making holiday requests? Does their heavy workload prevent them from taking time off? Do they know the company holiday policy?
Take time out to evaluate your holiday planning process, communicate your policy with your employees and consider how a proactive approach to planning and managing your workflow and annual leave will make it easier for employees to take a well-deserved holiday.