Getting away from the demands of your work can be relieving and exciting. Think about not having to set the alarm each night you go to sleep and picking up your shirts from laundry every weekend. These two and many more routines have straitjacketed your life and now you deserve a rest. You need to go on vacation.
At the beginning of every year, HR departments of most companies usually direct employees to complete a Vacation Roaster. This indicates when every employee intends to go on vacation and the duration of the leave. The snag here is that most employees see this exercise as mere academic and they just end up with dates without putting any thought to it. Now its Easter or Christmas, the Bank (public) holidays wont be enough as parents are either visiting or I’ll be travelling to visit my fiance. I need more days off!
Before you walk up to the HR desk, please could you remember what date you indicated on the roaster? Its now time to grunt and accuse the HR people of rejecting your application! The essence of a roaster is to allow time for adequate workforce planning. The HR dept. needs to get people who will relieve you while you are on vacation and those people also need to be informed well ahead.
Work-life balance is an important requisite to getting the best from employees. People need to plan their lives and ensure that both their work and social life do not suffer. This brings me to the issue of everybody wanting to go on vacation during festive periods. What then happens to the work? Common! This is not feasible! We should love our jobsand have empathy for our colleagues. The vacation roaster should be evenly spread. I have seen a case where an employee wanted to spend ten days during the Eid festival and the remaining ten days of his annual twenty earmarked for Christmas! Meanwhile there are some of his colleagues who have not been allowed to go on vacation.
The workplace is our second home and an atmosphere of camaraderie should permeate the air. Honestly, some employees are good on their jobs but could be a bit of nerdy. They are excellent on what they do but do not bother to share their knowledge with colleagues. It gets so bad that when such people need to go on vacation there is nobody to sit-in for them. I am not denying the fact that nothing sticks in the heads of some colleagues even after showing them for the upteenth time how things are done . Even in this scenario, I still advise you learn how to be a good teacher because it might come in handy when vacation beckons. Having said that, some companies or their HR departments cannot be absolved of blame in this regard.
There are some companies out there that do not care a hoot about work-life balance of their employees. People are used like machines and are expected to work twentyfour-seven. Some years back I lost a friend who slumped and died in his bedroom minutes after returning home from work at 10pm. Of course he had left since 7am and that had been his routine all year round until that fateful day. Although I am not a medical practitioner but I can guess my friend died of heart attack which was triggered by stress resulting from his workload.
Employers do adopt this style of rigid human management with a false sense of maximising employees’ potentials. It is a wrong workforce management style and injurious to the wellbeing of your workers. Even if it does not result into death like the tragic case I gave above, rejecting leave requests of employees does result to displeasure and resentment. Consequently degenerating into low morale and loss of productivity.
I used to have a boss who detests when issue of vacation comes up. It was like a tug of war back then. “I will not sign this your leave form unless you look for who will relieve you”, he used to say. The task of searching for who will sit-in for me every time I needed to go on vacation became mine. This is a semblance of poor workforce planning and a disregard for employees’ rights.
Vacation should not be seen as a privilege but a right. Every employee should be allowed to proceed on leave annually or bi-annually. If for anything, it refereshes the mind and makes employees more productive. It also prevents that aura of indispensability creeping into the minds of your workforce. It could also serve as a means of measuring performance. Someone once told me that an employee was stealing from their company but it was not discovered until that person went on vacation. Who says companies do not benefit from employees going on leave?
Employees on the other hand need to hand in their leave requests early enough for processing. Your leave allowance needs to be paid and a temporary replacement also needs to be sought. It is often reported that sometimes when employees return from vacation their productivity dips. This negates the main aim of the vacation in the first place. Work-life balance is required in whatever we do and neither one should outweigh the other. More importantly, we need the job to earn a living.
Please give your thoughts and share your experiences at the comment section.
Connect with Bashir Mudi Baba on Twitter @el_de_bash