Encourage PTO Use

Spring is here and summer is around the corner. I’ll bet you are not thinking about a vacation right now. There is a good chance neither you nor one of your employees is planning to take time off this year.

According to the U.S. Travel Association, four in 10 American workers allow paid vacation days to expire. Last year, 169 million vacation days, already paid for by a company—so it’s already yours–went unused, according to think-tank Center for Economic and Policy Research.

This is a travesty.

Why is taking a vacation viewed in a negative light? Taking a vacation is one of the most necessary activities for our total health and to maintain healthy work-life balance. We need time to vacate work in our mind and body. Some managers and companies have discouraged PTO use in some pretty heinous ways like not establishing processes or setting too many rules. PTO

Managers like you are responsible for setting the culture that likes to use PTO days. No excuses. Here are three reasons why you need to get your employees to use days for time off work.


Happy employees are better employees that want to stay in your organization. Studies show about 55% of American employees that used PTO is happier at work. People like perks and they like vacations. Your employees that take vacations are also likelier to be in better health too.


Focus on this big number: 91. Ninety-one percent of employees that take vacation will be more energized, productive, and ready to work than their counterparts not taking time off. We have here a huge case to encourage PTO use. Furthermore, employees tend to get more work done in order to budget time for a vacation.


Some reasons why people don’t take time off is because of fear of returning to a work backlog, lack of trusting others to handle the load when they’re away, the inability to afford using time off, and/or the fear of being seen as replaceable. These people are called “work martyrs,” whom stay busy for the sake of maintaining appearances.

Did you build a functional team with the right kind of people that can keep things moving if one of them or yourself is absent? Are you empowering them to that end?

You want better performance from your employees, right? You want to foster work-life balance instead of just talking about it, correct? I hope you said yes to both questions. Encourage PTO use to your employees because it makes them better for your organization. Besides, it’s already budgeted for the year.


Denis Coleman

Denis Coleman is the founder and CEO of Work Compass, a cloud staff performance collaboration software platform that helps teams align their efforts with strategic goals and continuously improve performance. Frustrated with the disconnect between strategy setting and day to day execution and the lack of tools available to managers to help them be great at their most important function …. Aligning their teams activities with strategic goals and actively managing for high performance Denis spent over 5 years researching strategy execution and performance management practices before founding Work Compass to create a software solution. Denis has held senior roles in Ireland, Czech Republic and North America with high performing electronics manufacturing and professional services organisations for more than 12 years. Denis has worked as Finance Director responsible for €800 million in annual revenues for Flextronics International, Key Account Manager responsible for annual revenues of more than €600 million for Dovatron International and Management Consultant for BDO one of Europe’s most successful professional services providers.

Follow us

Get the newsletter