John Hollon has a post up over at Workforce regarding the recent decision of Bob Nardelli to tell all Chrysler workers they would “be required to use two weeks of their vacation time in July, in a company-wide shutdown intended to improve the automaker’s efficiency and boost productivity".
It also got me thinking about time off. Vacations, Personal Day, PTO banks - all good things for employees, right? The answer is a strong "yes", unless companies over-define the way time-off can be used.
With that in mind, here's my top ways that companies can turn a positive (time-off with pay!) into a neutral to negative event:
--Use it OR Lose it with no cultural protection - Some companies like to have a policy mandating employees to use all of their vacation or PTO each year. That's cool, but if the culture mandates face time or workloads dictate employees can't use their time off, it turns into a negative.
--Take your two weeks together - One of my favorites. We want you to have some time off, but you have to take it all at one time. You can't split it up or we'll crumble from the complexities...
--Take it when it's convenient for us - See the Nardelli example listed above...
--Over-defining when sick time can be used - As lame as it sounds, some companies still don't allow employees to use sick time for the care of children or other loved ones. You're kidding me, right?
Notice that I didn't list scheduling your vacation vs. the needs of the business. Lots of employees in structured environments get upset about having to schedule their vacation vs. how many other people are scheduled to be off, but that's business (and being a part of a team).
I'm lucky to be working for a company believes that time off is important. As a result, our leadership grants a lot of it, and also takes a real world approach to allow the banking of time within reason, thus managing the inherent conflicts between being busy and the use it or lose it camp.