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Managing Remote Teams' Mental Health: Encouraging PTO to recharge

Before COVID-19, over one in four American workers felt guilty about taking time off and 58% did not take their allotted vacation days due to feeling there was too much work to accomplish. Plus, one in five said their company shames employees who take allotted vacation time.

During any kind of stressful time, and now when people may feel lucky to have a job, employees might find it more difficult to request time away. But it’s important to take a break. Time away improves mental clarity, productivity, and focus. When your employees are recharged, it leads to better outcomes for them and better outcomes for the company.

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Video Transcription: Managing Remote Teams' Mental Health | Encouraging PTO to Recharge

[Narrator] Paid Time Off or PTO gives people time to relax and recharge, leading to a more enjoyable and productive work environment for everyone. In these unprecedented times, however, taking time off may not seem like a priority or it may even feel like a huge ask.
Since our offices are now in our homes and kids are being homeschooled, leaving work behind is more challenging than ever. In fact, one in five Americans feel their company shames employees who take allotted vacation time.

So, what can managers do to support their teams in taking PTO?

Lead by example! Leadership can encourage employees to be intentional about their self-care while working remotely and take time off to unplug and recharge. Whether it’s to work on a home project, read a book, or go for a long walk, even small breaks from work can make a significant difference in your energy and stress levels.

[CEO] Here at BusCorpCo, we’re firm believers in the importance of taking PTO, especially during these stressful times. It’s important to recognize the need to take a break from work, even if it’s just for a day. Our PTO policy is in place for this very reason.

Personally, I'm going to take 2 days off next week to unplug and recharge. Even though we are unable to take a regular vacation right now, I plan to sleep in, exercise, and read during my time off, if my kids let me. Work with your managers to get your PTO scheduled and don’t forget to plan for the remainder of the year. Your managers will be setting up 1:1s to review your PTO schedule soon.

[Manager] You’ve been working so hard lately, you deserve some time off!” I noticed you haven’t used any PTO this year. I want to make sure you feel comfortable taking time off and know how to request it.

[Narrator] Your organization has a PTO policy for a reason. Positive reinforcement is the key to letting people know they can use their PTO.

As a manager, take note of employees who don’t take time off and let them know it’s ok to do so.

Let’s make the most of things and allow vacation days to serve their purpose – to refresh employees and provide a space to get away from the stress of day-to-day work. Let your teams know it’s more important now than ever before to rest and recover.

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