The “post-holiday glow” may only last a few days but annual leave has significant benefits – and employers are taking note.
Staff who go on leave, particularly for a vacation, return to work refreshed and re-energised, leading to increased productivity.
SEEK research reveals although one in five workers (19 per cent) say the “post-holiday glow” dies down as soon as they are back at work, 60 per cent say it lasts for more than a day and 13 per cent say it lasts for more than a week.
Regardless, the benefits to wellbeing have likely already come into effect.
Workplace mental health agency Heads Up reports taking a break can reduce stress and increase worker happiness, which leads to increased productivity and reduced absenteeism and staff turnover.
To help encourage this, marketing firm Bastion Collective introduced unlimited paid annual leave for employees who had been with them for at least three years.
Chief executive Jack Watts says refreshed staff are productive staff.
“Think of how productive you are before you go on leave, getting everything done so everything goes smoothly while you are away from the office, then think about how productive you are when you are back in the office refreshed and rejuvenated,” he says.
Watts says although the leave is unlimited, no one has taken more than an additional 10 days of leave in a year since the policy was introduced three years ago.
“We need them to ask themselves a few questions — how will taking leave impact my team, what resources do we need to put in place in order to ensure we can still deliver what we need to, (and) for people wanting to take three or more weeks of leave, they will need to present a plan covering these points,” he says.
“But when staff are on leave, they are on leave — there is no expectation that they answer emails or calls.”
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Innovation consultancy Inventium also offers unlimited paid leave and chief maker Dr Amantha Imber says it has been a huge success over the past three years.
“Staff now take an average of five-and-a-half weeks of leave per year, and have far better work-life balance than they did before we implemented the policy,” she says.
“The team has complete control over when they take leave and how much leave they take – they take as much or as little as they need to come to work feeling refreshed and able to do great work.”
Rise Consulting joined the unlimited leave list at the beginning of last year, too.
Other companies have added extra leave on top of the Fair Work-stipulated four weeks without going fully unlimited.
MYOB, for example, offers an extra five days to workers who have reached the end of their annual leave allocation.
They received 100 applications from staff within the first week of launching the program.
MYOB customer success manager Joseph Cooper says annual leave is “absolutely” important.
“It allows people flexibility so they can maintain work-life balance and lets them unwind,” he says.
“In the past I’ve taken annual leave just to have a break after a busy period of work, not necessarily for a ‘holiday’, more to just unwind.
“It could be as simple as having time to go for a bushwalk or play video games.
“I usually run close to zero on annual leave, so I love that I have a fall back and know I can take a break when I need to.”
SEEK offers five days of paid personal flexi-leave on top of annual leave, which is designed to be used for life admin, such as moving house, taking the dog to the vet or picking up a relative from the airport.
It ensures workers can save their annual leave for vacations or activities that allow them to unwind and refresh.
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