Vacation, Vacation, Vacation!

It is that time of the year again, the summer buzz is in the air and vacations are top of mind. This presents an opportunity and difficulty for small business owners. By respecting and allowing your employees desire for vacation and personal days you help move towards building an awesome place where they want to work. This also can result in a huge loss of productivity and an increased level of pressure on yourself and other staff members. While on the other side of that if you deny people the ability to take time off you are more than likely going to end up with a staff that resents you and therefore is not keeping the companies mission at top of mind. The fact is that a healthy business requires a healthy staff and personal time is a major component to that health. These are a few things to keep in mind when coming into this topic within your own company.


Laws and Regulations – Some states have a level of required time off that employers must meet. This is important to know for all business owners when planning out how to handle vacation time. This can always be found on your state’s Department of Labor website. For example, the state of Kentucky is one of the states that does not require employers to provide said benefits. That being said, annually for this region the average PTO given is 8.5 hours.


Culture and Retention – For years we have seen consistent research that has helped display the necessity for vacations on employees. Jobs where workaholism is encouraged or expected end up having higher turnover, less efficiency, and poorer customer results. Taking time off is strong for employees’ mental health, productivity, and employee retention. This is even more prevalent now as the world is opening back up a bit and we move towards a post COVID normalcy. According to the US Travel Association report taken during National Plan a Vacation Day, 84% of Americans are excited to and plan to take a vacation over the next few months. On top of that, around 63% of Americans say they are in desperate need of a vacation. If you let people take the time they want, up to a certain and specified limit, you will have a team that is stronger and better off because of it.


Planning and Timing – Make the real situation of time off easier on yourself by setting a plan in place for this time of year. Whether that be only allowing 1-2 employees to take off the same week any given week or requesting that employees give you a certain amount of time heads up before putting in a request to allow for extra planning on your end. The key to this is that you MUST keep employees informed and aware of these policies. If everyone is on the same page regarding time off, you will go a long way towards avoiding ill-will during situations regarding vacation. Planning for busier periods of your industry is also important. If you know that you have a trade show or month that is massive for your company’s annual goals, then make that known to employees as well. Possibly plan to bring on seasonal staff so that you don’t have to overwhelm your team.


The most important thing to remember is that while productivity and positivity are directly affected by taking time off, the efficiency and passion of a business owner are also affected. As a small business owner, you are often the most important piece to your company. You are also still a human being.  You also need time away to recoup and refocus. Let your employees enjoy themselves and hell, enjoy yourself too! We work hard and nothing is as rewarding as sitting back and relaxing occasionally. Happy travels!



Matthew Thomas, Marketing Manager in Louisville, KY