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Tools to Avoid Burnout: The Balance of Time

If your business is still looking for ways to relieve employee burnout, headlines of “summer hours” and short work weeks have probably caught your eye.  Maybe you’ve even considered the idea of unlimited PTO, then realized the administrative and management burden that it might create. These all require interactive internal discussions, a fair amount of planning, and maybe even additional training for managers – but it’s worth the time to keep your valued employees. Don’t just preach work-life balance – insist on it.

Short Days

A few years ago, the CEO of our family of companies began sending out the occasional afternoon email letting all of the staff know they could leave two hours early. The announcements would come on the eve of a holiday, on a Friday – or on a beautiful, sunny day that deserved to be enjoyed. This eventually became nearly every Friday during the summer, which soon became cemented as our summer hours. Everyone is welcome to leave at 3pm on Fridays, provided they’re caught up on assignments. That went well, so we extended those summer hours throughout the year. A two-hour early out on a Friday may not seem like much at first blush, but it’s actually 13 additional days of PTO per year! Some employers worry that this will cause people to fall behind in their work. We found that when employees plan for a short workday on Fridays, they manage their time well to make sure everything gets done by 3pm.  Productivity dips in the last few hours of a Friday afternoon anyway, and you’re already paying the staff – so why not buy yourself some goodwill and let employees start their weekend early?

Unlimited PTO

While this should be planned carefully and in advance so that the right parameters can be put in place, it’s not as crazy as it sounds. When you hear of an employer offering unlimited PTO, it’s not something that’s typically offered upon an employee’s start date. Some companies allow it after the first year of employment, and some scale up to it based on years of service – which is what we did. Each employee is given their full allotment of PTO for the year in January (new hires receive a prorated amount). The hours don’t roll over, which is meant to encourage employees to take their time instead of hoarding it. The transition from accrued to “block” PTO might create some additional administrative work, but if you’re a SuretyHR client – we can help you through the process.

One of the objections you might hear from employees is, “But I’m too busy to take that much time off/the PTO calendar is always full/our department is too busy to handle people taking off any time they want.” These aren’t unreasonable objections – and they should be addressed before implementing a policy like this. Even if it’s a small department that struggles to keep up with their workload – all employees should reap the benefits of such a policy.

We understand that these ideas may be easier to implement in an office environment, but that doesn’t mean there’s no room for flexibility at companies of all industries. In the current labor market, both of these are great for retention of employees, as well as recruitment of new employees. Feel free to reach out to our team if you need suggestions or direction on how you can retain your best employees.

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