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Help Employees Truly Rejuvenate During Vacation by Drury Insurance Group (February 21, 2018)

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One of your faithful employees has been counting down the weeks, and it’s finally here: Their big vacation. They’re ready to shut down, rejuvenate and turn off those email notifications — or are they?

In this increasingly connected professional world, how is one to know whether it’s okay to fully disconnect? After all, one of your company’s supervisors was recently answering emails and putting out fires while they were supposed to be hiking the Redwoods.

Between the flattening structure of many of today’s companies and the ease of reaching anyone’s smart phone at literally any time, your employees might be a bit confused about what is expected of them when that big week off finally comes around.

Let’s start by identifying your goal as the employer:


You want rested, happy — and therefore, productive — employees.


Many a study proves vacations grant this.

One course of action is to more clearly define your company’s vacation policies. You can take a stand in your handbook, and put in writing your clear intentions for employee vacations by encouraging them to disconnect. Naturally, this will alleviate some of the anxiety they may feel regarding the work-life communication situation. 

However…Employee Benefit News has found that regardless of any written vacation policy, it is the example set by supervisors and leadership that truly impacts employees’ views on remaining connected to work email while sitting on the beach.

If your supervisor-level workers are flooding the inbox, asking questions and chiming in during their own vacation time — what are their staff members supposed to think? Let alone if a request is made specifically of someone while they are out of office.

What is an employee to do?

You certainly don’t want them to feel as if precious vacation time is being siphoned away by little red notification bubbles.

The best solution is to establish clear communication from the top-down to go along with that written policy. Make sure your supervisors are encouraging their team members to DISCONNECT.

Take extra steps to coordinate backup plans and communication workarounds to ensure everyone gets to reap the full benefit of their vacation. There will always be fires and emergencies, but establishing pre-vacation prep time with team members will help with preparedness, or discretion, if the need to reach out arises.

By setting clear communication goals, employees will have a better sense of what is (or isn’t) expected of them — resulting in a company culture of respect, and hopefully, rested and happy employees. Take the time to make your vacation policy clear, and to make sure everyone lives by it. You will all reap the benefits!

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