Burnout has become an increased concern for employers, and for good reason. When it comes to work-life balance, Americans took more than 20 vacation days on average between 1978 and 2000. By 2014, that number had dropped by almost a full workweek.

In fact, even when employees have the option of taking paid time off, too many forgo it. According to a study by the U.S. Travel Association and Project: Time Off, 95% of survey respondents think paid time off is important but 52% of them left some of their vacation days unused in 2018. 

To combat burnout, Tony Libardi, president and COO of Marco’s Pizza, has taken matters into his own hands by building a company culture rooted in flexibility and accountability.

In other words, he believes it’s crucial for leaders to closely examine how they are setting the tone for corporate culture with policies to ensure people are taking vacations.

5 reasons why you should make your people take their vacations.

Libardi says vacation time rejuvenates his people while inspiring a culture of accountability. It works for Marco’s Pizza, one of the fastest-growing pizza franchises in the United States, and here are five reasons why it will work for your organization too:

1. Increased job satisfaction leads to more productivity.

The link between employee happiness and success is evident, there are even studies to prove it, but competitive compensation and a great benefits package isn’t always enough. It’s a leader’s responsibility to create an inviting, collaborative and supportive environment, and that means encouraging time off when it’s needed — and wanted. You may even see an obvious jump in productivity with multiple studies linking frequent vacations to increased efficiency.

2. A caring company culture gives employees a reason to stay.

Retaining employees is crucial for the health and growth of any organization. For example, a high-stress work environment can lead to an inability to take a vacation even though it’s offered. It’s important for employees to feel a sense of support at all times and that includes when they leave the office. As for when they’re in the office, make a point to celebrate wins at all levels — emphasizing a culture of accountability. Libardi shared that Marco’s Pizza makes a point to salute all deserving employees with shout outs in company newsletters and more.

3. Traveling encourages fresh perspectives.

Libardi says that traveling to different states and countries, as he did while serving the country as a Marine, gives people a new perspective and has the ability to change you. Sometimes you don’t even need to travel to find a renewed sense of energy. It may be enough to simply step away from work or a project for a few days to come back with fresh insight. 

4. Finding fulfillment outside of work helps bring purpose to your life.

“At Marco’s, we want our longstanding employees — the ones who live the culture and are closely tied to their communities — to grow with us,” Libardi told me. In order to retain more of these types of employees, it’s important to help them achieve a sense of purpose, professionally and personally, explains Libardi. Often times that means encouraging and supporting outside activities like spending time with family, taking a philanthropic trip or nurturing a hobby, which all help add to a person’s sense of purpose and supports their dreams and passions. 

5. One burnout impacts the whole team.

When people think of burnout they tend to think of the impact it has on a single person, but it’s important to realize that one employee burning out causes a ripple effect, which impacts an entire team. When someone is experiencing burnouts, support staff typically take on additional work in order to keep things moving. Libardi says, “This can cause disgruntled employees and even more burnouts, but this all can be avoided if time off is encouraged.”

Originally published on Inc.

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