Why You Should Encourage Employees to Take Vacations

Businesses offer vacation time to their employees for a number of reasons. It boosts morale. Employees return to work with recharged mental batteries. And generous vacation policies attract new employees. Can it also uncover fraud?

Two of The Wall Street Journal’s blogs, In Charge and The Juggle, describe novel vacation policies at two different companies. One company pulls an employee’s name out of a hat each month; that employee is required to take two weeks off the following month. (Some workaholic employees don’t want their names to be chosen, if you can believe it.) Another offers employees who take off two consecutive weeks another two weeks of vacation time.

Why force employees to take time off? These companies say workers need time off to recharge. Employees are also forced to keep their co-workers in the loop on their projects, so no one employee is indispensable.

And, it seems, requiring employees to take time off helps uncover fraud, if there is any. Comments from readers note that employees involved in any ongoing fraud, like embezzlement, hate going on vacation. Fraudulent activity requires constant attention to prevent discovery, and forcing employees to take time off will usually bring the fraud to light.