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Insights and Strategies on “Quiet Vacationing”

Topic: Supporting Employee-Centered Time Off Policies

Our clients know we are not fans of gimmicky terms lick quiet quitting, and now, quiet vacationing.

It minimizes genuine concerns in organizations, often stemming from poorly built, often outdated programs and policies.

As HR Consultants dedicated to enhancing recruitment, retention, and employee development strategies, we recognize the growing trend of ‘quiet vacationing’ as an opportunity for organizations to increase communication, improve leadership and address problems head-on.

“Quiet vacationing” reflects the need for more flexible and supportive time off policies.

Our Recruitment Lead, Taj Chhina, enjoying a last minute trip to Toronto to see family and catch a game.

Millennials, in particular, have found creative ways to manage their work-life balance, often without openly communicating with their managers.

Quiet vacationing is behaviours such as moving the mouse but not working, taking laptops to personal appointments, and even taking off early in the hopes that ‘no one will notice’.
It generally comes from a place of feeling like the culture of an organization is one that does not appreciate self-care, personal time off, and transparency with PTO programs and policies.
To be clear, if employees do not feel safe to ask for earned time off, this is very much an employer problem, not an employee problem.

So what is Quiet Vacationing?

Nearly 4 in 10 millennials report taking time off without notifying their supervisors, and many simulate activity on company platforms to appear engaged when they are not working. This indicates a workaround culture where employees seek to achieve a better work-life balance discreetly.

To begin with, it is important that organizations not paint all (often remote) workers with the same brush – not everyone is abusing the flexibility provided to them.

To address this new trend, instead, organizations must create more employee-centered time off policies that foster transparency, trust, and genuine work-life balance.

The Career Contacts team has put together five strategies to achieve this:

  • Flexible Scheduling Options:

Offer flexible working hours and allow employees to tailor their schedules to better fit their personal needs and preferences. This can include options like compressed workweeks, flexible start and end times, and the ability to take short breaks throughout the day.

Example: Implement a policy where employees can choose their core working hours, ensuring they can manage personal responsibilities without sacrificing work commitments.

  • Mental Health Days:

Introduce designated mental health days separate from regular sick leave to emphasize the importance of mental well-being. Encourage employees to take these days without stigma or fear of negative consequences.

Example: Provide regular reminders and resources about the availability of mental health days and offer workshops on stress management and mental wellness.

  • Clear Communication and Planning:

Foster an environment of open communication where employees feel comfortable discussing their time off needs with their managers. Create a structured process for planning and approving time off to avoid any last-minute disruptions.

Example: Develop a transparent time-off request system that includes regular check-ins between employees and managers to discuss upcoming personal and work commitments.

  • No-Questions-Asked Personal Days:

Implement a policy allowing employees to take a set number of personal days each year without needing to provide a reason. This respects their privacy and acknowledges the diverse reasons one might need time off.

Example: Allocate up to five personal days annually that employees can use at their discretion, promoting trust and acknowledging their personal needs.

  • Personalized, frequent conversations:

If your employees know that there is time and space allotted to ensuring they have what they need, they are far more likely to ask.

Not every ask has to be met with a yes but does require leadership to have strong people-centered policies that address why, and why not

Example: Some organizations require blocked time off for certain periods such as tax season in accounting, or holiday rush for retail teams.

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Raman Chahal, our newest member, taking an extended leave to enjoy her honeymoon in Europe.

As HR consultants, we are committed to helping you design and implement these policies to strengthen your organization’s culture and drive long-term success.

The ability to align business objectives and employee needs is the win-win we look for.

Let’s collaborate to build a workplace where employees thrive both personally and professionally.

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