SyncShow B2B Marketing Blog

Managing an Interactive Marketing Agency: Executing a PTO Policy

Getting paid to NOT work!  Sounds great, huh?  

As the Vice President of Operations at an interactive marketing agency I have various responsibilities. One responsibility is to administer my company's employee benefits. When one thinks of the topic of employee benefits they usually consider two items: salary compensation and health insurance benefits. One hugely important benefit that many businesses fail to focus on is PTO (Paid Time Off).  PTO allotment is as much a part of an employee's total benefits package as salary and health insurance coverage. With PTO, an employee is given an allotment or allocation of paid time to NOT work. Yet, the benefit stretches far beyond the employee simply not having to work. Time away from the office has tremendous benefits to BOTH the employee and employer. I came across this info graphic from Mashable that does a great job outlining the benefits of PTO.

When administering a PTO policy for your company, consider the following tips:

1. Don't segregate vacation time, personal time and sick time.  

Combine vacation time, personal time, and sick time all into PTO and trust your employees to use their time away from the office as needed. If an employee is not given ample vacation days they will be likely to call in last-minute and use a sick day for personal play reasons. The old "Call in Sick" story is as old as the telephone and has been troubling businesses for over 100 years. The lack of a reasonable vacation time allotment only encourages the employee to call in last-minute and pretend to be sick if they truly want personal time off. This can only disrupt the operations and rhythm of your business and stress your employee as well.

2. Encourage employees to use all available PTO.  

Reconsider your policy if you currently financially reimburse employees at the end of the year for unused PTO. Provide your employees with ample PTO and encourage them to use all available PTO instead of rewarding them for not using PTO.

3. Be flexible with how you administer your PTO.  

Don't require employees to take time off in four or eight hour intervals or in two or three day minimum durations. Similarly, don't require your employees to forecast and provide management with their vacation schedule for the year. Some companies require each employee at the beginning of the year to provide their vacation schedule to management in early January. Long gone are the days where families take one two-week long vacation each summer.  Employees travel more frequently and often for shorter intervals. Don’t expect an employee to know when he or she will be vacationing 12 months in advance.

4. Create a work environment where employees don't feel guilty or hesitant when taking PTO.  

Many employees would rather not take time off of work simply because of the workload that will await them upon return to the office. Manage employee work loads and accommodate their work load when they have requested time off of work. Help your employee prepare for vacation so that he or she is comfortable taking time off knowing that there won't be a mountain of work waiting upon return to the office.

So...the takeaway:

A flexible and attractive PTO policy is a HUGE employee benefit that is often overlooked by employers. Providing an attractive PTO policy to your employees can help attract new employees, boost employee morale, increase employee happiness, relieve employee stress, and increase productivity. Ultimately, a properly administered PTO policy will drive a great company culture. Employees will be excited to come BACK to work after being paid NOT to work. Sounds great, huh?

Don't look at PTO as a cost to the company as much as it is an investment into your employee's well-being and productivity. 

Image courtesy of marcolm via

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