Creating a Vacation-Friendly Company Culture

It is officially summertime, so HR get ready for the time off requests and PTO! For the next 3 months, we will be talking about all things time off. 

Starting right at the foundation of fostering a vacation-friendly company culture. Employees may feel guilty about taking vacation because they worry about burdening their colleagues with additional work or causing delays in project timelines. They may feel responsible for maintaining productivity and worry that their absence will negatively impact the team’s performance. Or if management does not actively promote or support work-life balance, employees may feel uncomfortable taking time off. They may perceive a stigma or judgment surrounding vacations and feel that they should prioritize work over personal well-being. 

To address these feelings of guilt, it is crucial for organizations to foster a supportive company culture that values work-life balance and encourages employees to take time off. HR can play a vital role in promoting policies, communication, and initiatives that alleviate guilt and create a vacation-friendly culture. 

Here are some steps HR can take to create a vacation-friendly company culture: 
  1. Develop Clear Vacation Policies: Create clear and transparent vacation policies that outline the process for requesting time off, how vacation days are accrued, any blackout periods, and any restrictions or guidelines. Communicate these policies clearly to all employees.
  2. Encourage and Normalize Taking Vacations: Promote the importance of taking vacations for employee well-being, work-life balance, and productivity. Encourage employees to plan and utilize their vacation days. 
  3. Lead by Example: HR leaders and managers should lead by example by taking regular vacations themselves (if possible). This demonstrates that taking time off is not only acceptable, but also encouraged within the company.
  4. Teamwork/Collaboration: Encourage employees to collaborate and provide coverage for each other’s roles when one person is on vacation. Promote a culture of teamwork and mutual support, where employees feel comfortable assisting each other during absences.
  5. Recognize and Celebrate Vacations: Acknowledge and celebrate employees’ vacations when they return. Show appreciation for their time off and encourage them to share their experiences. This can create a positive atmosphere around vacations and further encourage others to take time off.


Creating a vacation-friendly company culture involves fostering an environment that values and supports employees’ time off, while ensuring smooth operation in their absence. Incorporating these tips can create a culture where employees won’t feel guilty for taking time for themselves, and where mental & physical rest is encouraged.