How to Encourage Your Employees to Take Annual Leave

By Wiona Teo on November 26, 2021

Ever since the shift to remote work, many employees find themselves being pushed to the limit, as the boundaries between work and home become blurred. Achieving a perfect work-life balance seems like a far-fetched dream with busy schedules and unmet deadlines. 


“We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own ‘to do’ list. 

- Michelle Obama


Organisations that enable employees to achieve work-life balance are deemed particularly motivating and supportive to employees, which makes them happy. Employees with positive employee experience - whose needs for work-life balance are achieved, tend to stay with their employer and are more productive. Fostering employees’ well-being could be one of the ways to build a high-performing team.

For those employees who devote their all into an organisation, it can be easy for them to lose sight of their need for relaxation. Therefore, it is up to the leaders to intervene and help employees realize that their mental health and well-being are just as important as the valuable work they do.

In this article, find out why it’s important to encourage employees to use their annual leave and discover ways to support your employees, so they can switch off and truly relax whilst they are away.


Importance of Taking a Break

We all need to strike a balance between work and rest, which is even more important in today's culture of overworking. Remote workers feel the need to be seen as productive, so they are putting in more hours than normal to multitask, as well as making constructive use of their time at home.

From our State of Employee Experience 2021, we learnt that the number of employees at risk of burnout has significantly increased between 2020 and 2021. The youngest demographics (Gen Z and millennials) are struggling the most, with emotions at work like:

  • Exhausted (43%)
  • Stressed (39%)
  • Under excessive pressure (16%)


Overworking for a long period of time can impact employees’ energy levels, mental health and overall well-being, essentially, leading to burnout and losing interest in their job.


How to Encourage Your Employees to Take Annual Leave?

1. Lead by example 

This is to all business leaders and managers, start taking your own leave too. When employees see that their leaders are taking annual leave/time off, they are more likely to become comfortable with following suit. Build a positive company culture that encourages employees to take time off for their mental health.

2. Remind employees to book annual leave in advance

Have an open conversation with your employees about their unused annual leave. Find out if they’re planning any exciting trips and remind them to book holidays as far in advance as possible, so the team can be prepared.

3. Show genuine interest in their plans

Be genuinely interested and excited for your employees when they apply for leave. Provide opportunities for them to share stories about what they are doing or are working on. Small chats like these will help employees to feel more connected and improve their overall engagement.

4. Build systems to distribute workload

One common reason why employees do not take leave is because of their work timeline getting delayed and new tasks continuing to add up during their leave. Leaders need to work with employees to find a suitable solution, perhaps creating a system where employees do not have to be there for ‘the show to go on’. For instance, using automation to streamline some processes. 

Having healthy and happy employees who take time off will do wonders for your company culture and profits. If you are keen to read more about employee wellbeing, click here.


Tags: Employee Experience