No matter where you work, you are entitled to some time off. Paid time off or PTO leave days are one of the many perks all employees check for before saying yes to a job. It’s important to know that you can step away when needed. However, stepping away isn’t always easy.
If you work in a startup or SME, you will know. Even if you do take an off, it is difficult to manage PTO leave as you are often expected to be connected and responding to calls and mails. Unplugging from work is not easy, and that has consequences.
Whether you are an employer or an employee, we’ve got some tips for you which can help you manage PTO leave. Following this should help ensure that when you do take your PTO leave, you are able to unplug and stay that way. Vacations are meant to be relaxing after all. Here are some ways to set boundaries, that ensure work doesn’t get disrupted, nor does the vacation.
How to Take and Manage PTO Leave
Plan your Vacation in Advance
We know that in a post-COVID world it’s not easy to plan a trip in advance, but you should still try. Ideally, you need to inform your colleagues, managers, suppliers or clients two to three weeks in advance. That gives them enough time to prepare for your absence, even if it is for a day or two.
Make sure you reach out to everyone at the earliest, informing them of your PTO leave days. About a week before you go on leave, catch up with your team and take care of any high-priority tasks. That way, you can ensure that business won’t be affected by your absence. Don’t keep these things pending till the last minute, ensure that they are done well in advance.
Plan Your Return
This may sound weird, but it really helps. Before you go on vacation, make a 2-day plan on your return. Notify your team accordingly. Ideally, your plan should include responding to unread mails and catch-up meetings with your team.
Planning your return will ensure you aren’t caught unaware by anything in your absence. It will allow you to ease yourself back into the grind, without jumping headfirst. That can do wonders for your mental health.
Set Boundaries to manage PTO Leave
If you are taking a PTO leave, make your boundaries clear. You can’t be answering calls or responding to mails when on holiday, but sometimes it is unavoidable. Clearly define what counts as an emergency, and how best to contact you in that case.
It’s also a good idea to set aside specific time for work-related calls. Instead of saying “I’ll be available all day”, pick a time slot say between 6:00 – 9:00 PM. That way you can enjoy the rest of your time off, but still be ready to answer calls.
Assign a Replacement to manage PTO leave
If you are in a startup or SME, it’s very unlikely you will have a person who can replace all your functions, so you need to work with your team to split roles and duties. When planning your vacation, take some time to give your team a quick run through of what you do and how you do it.
The same goes for emails/calls. Send emails to all your clients/vendors telling them who to contact while you are on your PTO leave. Make sure everyone knows what to do, so that there’s no confusion.
Switch Off on your PTO Leave
When you are on vacation, do remember to switch off from work. When you aren’t supposed to be answering calls/emails, turn off notifications so you aren’t distracted. If you have a separate work phone, ensure it is switched off.
Your PTO leave is meant to help you relax and enjoy, so do that. That way, you will be refreshed and ready to return to work. Even if it is just a day, you should follow these tips.
Note For Employers
As a startup or SME, the constant need to hustle and get things done can be bad for your employee’s wellbeing. That’s why PTO leave is vital. Another critical aspect are comprehensive employee healthcare plans. They ensure that your team is as healthy as possible, both at work and when on their PTO leave.
Here’s a blog on why healthcare benefits for employees are the new normal. It’s a vital aspect to have for the all-round wellbeing of your team. If you are looking for affordable employee healthcare for startups and SMEs, why not check out Onsurity?
Onsurity’s comprehensive business health plans give your team benefits like doctor teleconsultations, discounted health check-ups and medicine delivery, fitness tracking and complimentary employee medical insurance through our insurance partner. Click on the button below.