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How your time-off policy can cut costs and improve productivity

Sharon Florentine | Jan. 9, 2015
Having a clear, concise and generous time off policy in place will allow your business to better budget for employees' planned absences as well as cut costs associated with unplanned absences. You'll also have a more engaged, loyal and productive workforce.

What about unlimited time off policies, like those in place at organizations like Veracode, Best Buy and Netflix? Craig Bryant, founder and product manager at Kin HR, says in this article on the company's Website that while the idea behind unlimited time off is sound, in practice, without a clearly articulated policy, employees are often left with greater stress, longer hours, greater burnout — and your company's got a turnover problem.

"With no constraints or guidelines for how time off works, employees tend to not consider it as part of their compensation and as such won't use it. That means longer hours, less time spent decompressing and ultimately higher churn," says Bryant.

A time-off policy, no matter how lenient, is a key to a successful organization, according to Bryant. Having clearly articulated strategies in place and a method for communicating about time off means better communication overall and a greater sense of shared responsibility.

"If a company doesn't care about getting its team out of the office, what other aspects of work life don't they do a great job at? Companies that don't track time off balances probably aren't tracking it on a calendar either. That means uninformed decisions about when it's best for team members to be away from work, and that means missed deadlines and poor resource planning," he says.

Make It Flexible

Depending on your industry, you should consider offering remote working options, flexible work schedules, job-sharing and other ways that employees can make work fit in with the rest of their responsibilities. But of course, advises Maroney, first make sure your industry supports these types of arrangements and that you won't be putting your organization in legal jeopardy by doing so.

"First, you need to follow the lead of unions, employee organizations, and federal and state statutes, or be open to fines or sanctions, which can be a major cost," she says.

Especially in industries like healthcare and finance, not following compliance regulations can be a major cost center, especially if you're found to flaunt regulations and are subject to fines and sanctions.

"Even in areas that aren't under compliance scrutiny, there are federal mandates like the Family and Medical Leave Act that guarantees worker protections, and you have to make sure you're meeting those," Maroney says.

"When it comes to your employees, communication is key in figuring out how to develop a consistent and fair scheduling and time-off policy. This means you have to ask them to weigh in on what their priorities are. Especially in areas like manufacturing that may not follow traditional 9-to-5 workdays and instead run on a shift schedule," says Maroney.

Make It Fair


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