When employees start a new job, they often receive a couple of weeks for vacation time. Often, they use those days to extend weekends here and there. A vacation day might go to catching up on personal errands. With luck, they may take a week off to enjoy a family vacation. Travel feels rushed and crammed in between workweeks. However, a growing number of companies are seeing the benefits of supporting their employees through a generous vacation policy. Some of these companies even pay their employees to get out of town.
Travel as a Cure for Burnout
Many American workers define themselves by their jobs. The daily grind of going to the office and completing projects gives them purpose. It does not take too long before these employees feel stuck in a rut. In some jobs, workers are caught between the stress of constant deadlines and the boredom of repetitive tasks. In addition, busy employees may feel that they have to sacrifice their personal lives for their professional lives. The result is burnout.
Corporate burnout is a growing problem. Uncontrolled stress at work can lead to physical issues such as weight gain and heart disease. It can also contribute to mental illnesses such as depression. For employers, burnout leads to an increased number of sick days, higher employee turnover and lower levels of productivity.
A simple way to prevent burnout is to go on vacation. However, getting out of the office is just a start. To counteract burnout, the best cure is to get away from the patterns of daily life. In other words, travel helps people step away from burnout in a way that a staycation cannot.
Investing in Employees
Companies that pay for employee vacations consider the cost as an investment in their staff members. When people are stressed, they are less creative and less focused. By encouraging or mandating travel, these businesses are hoping to reverse that trend.
Employers want their staff to be fully present at work when they are in the workplace. Companies that encourage travel give those employees permission to be fully absent from work when on vacation. By helping establish better boundaries between work and vacation, they are promoting the health and wellness of their workers.
While staff members may see this as a gift, the business sees it as smart spending. Healthy employees can mean lower health costs for the company. It means fewer sick days and medical appointments, leading to higher productivity. It also means a happier workplace where people are better able to communicate and cooperate. Happier workers are more likely to stay with the company meaning less time spent on interviewing, hiring and training replacements.
Paid Vacations in the Travel Industry
The trend in paid vacations is found in many different industries. However, the travel and hospitality industries are at the forefront of this movement. Although they expect that their employees will be on vacation when they travel, traveling will give these staff members a deeper insight into the companies they work for. It will also give staff firsthand knowledge of the tours, hotels and other accommodations promoted by the company.
The travel company TourRadar promotes over 40,000 tour packages. Each year, the company gives its employees $1,800 in travel credits to encourage them to take advantage of these offerings. In addition, the company has a work exchange program. Employees can apply to take a temporary position at their offices in cities like Vienna and Brisbane.
This hospitality site offers staff $2,000 in travel coupons every year, encouraging them to stay at Airbnb locations around the world.
Afar Media specializes in providing resources to deepen the experiences of world travelers. They want their employees to be able to talk and write about travel from personal experience. They give their staff members unlimited vacation days and a $2,000 annual travel stipend.
Travelzoo works with many different tour and travel companies. Employees receive an annual $1,500 stipend to book one of their existing travel deals.
Go Overseas is a company that hosts a community review site for travel. They encourage peer-to-peer relationships, helping people get the most out of travel experiences. In order to help their employees participate, they offer five travel days and a $1,500 flight allowance each year.
A Variety of Getaway Models
Businesses that support travel are doing it in several different ways. Some organizations use travel benefits to encourage loyalty. Others encourage employees to give meaning and purpose to their travel plans.
Paid Paid Vacation
Several companies have started using the “Paid Paid Vacation” model. Employees receive a travel stipend as a benefit. However, they have to return the stipend if they do not take a vacation. FullContact, the cloud-based solution tech company, gives its employees a generous $7,500 stipend. Other companies employing this model include BambooHR and SteelHouse, both with $2,000 annual travel benefits.
Bonanza, an online marketplace, combines the gift of travel with a corporate retreat. In February, many of their employees are invited to travel together with their families to a tropical location. Everyone has time to relax and enjoy the sun.
Salesforce wants to encourage its employees to volunteer. Every year, employees receive seven days of paid volunteer time. In addition, the company offers up to $2,500 in matching gifts. After the employee completes the volunteer experience, the company will match another $2,500.
Unlimited Vacation Days
The note-taking platform Evernote and the financial site The Motley Fool offer their employees unlimited vacation days, a policy that provides space for meaningful travel. Evernote includes a $1,000 travel stipend. The Motley Fool runs an annual “Fool’s Errand” program. Employees can apply to receive $1,500 towards a two-week vacation.
A Reward for Loyalty
Some companies offer travel benefits to encourage employee loyalty. Basecamp, the remote software company, offers a paid vacation at one of 16 different locations after a year of employment. Yesware gives its employees a $5,000 stipend to celebrate their fifth year at the company.
A Basic Benefit
Companies like the market software business Moz see travel as part of a basic benefits package. Moz gives its employees a $3,000 travel stipend every year.
As more companies recognize the issues of stress and burnout, they will be looking for ways to help employees relax and disconnect. Perhaps the best way to improve the health of the workplace is to get your employees far from the office.