4 Strategies to Manage the Summer PTO Surge

Surge. To run. Deluge.

Whatever you call it, employers are bracing for plenty of time off requests this summer as repressed workers on vacation threaten to cause productivity challenges for businesses.

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

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

Here are four strategies you can use.

Communicate company expectations

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

  • How far in advance do employees need to request vacation?
  • The procedure for making vacation requests.
  • Any rules about granting requests
  • How Employees Should Communicate Upcoming Time Off What to Include in an Out of Office Message

People tend to start booking travel 2-3 months in advance, so send this communication before summer vacation applications start coming in.

Advice: The tone of the message should be supportive. Fostering the PTO is good for both employees and companies; 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 uncomfortable taking time off. Consider that:

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

Advice: To foster a positive work environment for the PTO, ask managers to share vacation photos so their teams feel like they can take on the PTO too.

Institute a week without meetings

Another way to combat PTO reluctance is to institute a meeting-free week, or go one step further with a company-wide summer break; TripActions gave employees a mid-year break last year and will do so again in 2022. About 60% of employees report working while on vacation, so clearing out the calendar ensures employees have the chance to unplug.

As a bonus, not having meetings 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 days away from the office and could increase company productivity in the long run.

Advice: Line it up with a peak summer travel time like Memorial Day, Independence Day, or Labor Day, as these tend to be slow work weeks across the board.

Take short breaks

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

During the summer months, many companies offer Friday half-days, allowing employees to start their weekends with energy. Another tactic: Remind business travelers that they can extend their business trips with leisure time. Some 66% of business travelers plan to do this anyway, so it’s an easy way for businesses to encourage employees to take PTO. Companies using TripActions can enable employees to extend their business travel with time off through TripActions Lemonade, the personal travel tool. See how time off extensions make employees happier and healthier.

Advice: About 80% of employees say they would take more time off if their employers encouraged them to do so. Read the guide below to learn how your business can leverage personal travel technology like TripActions Lemonade as a business benefit.

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

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