Image of summer vacation.
Apr 7, 2022

4 Strategies to Manage the Summer PTO Surge

Libby Zay

Traveler ExperienceReturn to blog

Surge. Rush. Deluge.

Whatever they call it, employers are preparing for a lot of time-off requests this summer, as pent-up vacationing workers threaten to cause productivity challenges for companies.

TripActions has already seen a 512% increase* in personal flight bookings for summer travel over last year. And in a recent survey of Lemonade Loyalty Club members, 81% of respondents said they plan to travel more often than last summer.

As employees get ready to burn through their accrued vacation time and take much-needed breaks en masse, companies will need to manage this PTO demand while maintaining a vacation-friendly culture.

Here are four strategies they can use.

Communicate Company Expectations

As summer approaches, consider sending a company-wide message with reminders about the expectations and policies around vacation time. This could include:

  • How far in advance employees should request vacations
  • The procedure for making vacation requests
  • Any rules around granting requests
  • How employees should communicate upcoming time off What to include in an out-of-office message

People tend to start booking trips 2-3 months in advance, so send this communication before summer vacation requests start rolling in.

Tip: The tone of the message should be supportive. Encouraging PTO is good for both employees and businesses; it can save companies money and help increase recruitment and retention.

Lead By Example

Employees who don’t see their managers and peers using PTO may feel uneasy about taking time off. Consider that:

Leaders and managers set the tone among their teams; when they take time to disconnect, they set a positive example for the rest of the organization.

Tip: To encourage a PTO-positive work environment, ask managers to share vacation photos so their teams feel like they can take PTO, too.

Institute a Meeting-Free Week

Another way to combat PTO reluctance is to institute a meeting-free week—or go one step further with a companywide summer break; TripActions gave employees a mid-year break last year and will do so again in 2022. Around 60% of employees report working while on vacation, so clearing the calendar ensures employees have the opportunity to switch off and disconnect.

As a bonus, going meeting-free or shutting down all non-essential operations for a week encourages employees to sync up their summer vacation schedules. It reduces the need for teams to juggle out-of-office days and could boost company productivity in the long run.

Tip: Align with a peak summer travel time like Memorial Day, Independence Day, or Labor Day, since these tend to be slow business weeks across the board.

Embrace Short Breaks

Not all time away from the office needs to be part of a week-long vacation. In fact, experts have found that taking short breaks throughout the year may be more beneficial to mental well-being than longer vacations.

During the summer months, many companies offer half-day Fridays, which enable employees to get a jump start on their weekends. Another tactic: Remind those who travel for work that they can extend their business trips with leisure time. Around 66% of business travelers plan to do this anyway, so for companies, it’s an easy way to encourage employees to take PTO. Companies that use TripActions can allow employees to extend their business trips with leisure time through TripActions Lemonade, the personal travel tool. See how leisure extensions make for happier, healthier employees.

Tip: Around 80% of employees say they would take more time off work if they felt encouraged to do so by their employers. Read the guide below to learn how your company can leverage personal travel technology like TripActions Lemonade as a company perk.

*TripActions analyzed flight bookings made between January 1 and April 1, 2022, for travel beginning May 15 to September 15, 2022, and compared that to equivalent booking and travel windows in 2021.

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