This page pulls together our most important information about time off work.

We’ll look at what exactly is time off and why we need it (no, it’s not about being lazy). We’ll look at the importance of time off, not just for you as an individual, but for your team and workplace as a whole. And how we can embrace time off, to improve productivity, motivation and staff retention.

We’ve tried to present everything below nice and simply, so you can read it in bite sized chunks, even if you don’t have much time.

And right down at the bottom of this page, you’ll find a list of all the articles we’ve written about time of work.

What is time off?

We all lead busy lives, for most people work takes up a considerable amount of time and it can be both physically and mentally challenging. Pile on a busy home life, sprinkle in your family and friends commitments - and we’ve got a good recipe for burnout. Our mind and body can only take so much.

So we take ‘time off’, a period of time with no work commitments where we can rest, recover, and reflect. Activities which themselves are a valuable part of our life experience.

There’s a fascinating look at time off in a TED talk by Stefan Sagmeister. He explains the often overlooked value of time off work and shows some of the innovative projects inspired by his time off from work.

Read more:

Why taking time off matters for everyone
Format: a company that wants you to take enough time off

Time off improves productivity

The language around productivity isn't always helpful, the idea of ‘hard work’ being measured by the number of hours input rather than what actually got achieved. It’s not a healthy situation and even leads to people feeling guilty about taking time off work. We all know this but we’ve so too have we all felt the confliction, particularly when we have to cover for someone else's absence.

But the evidence is irrefutable, a workplace that allows, enables and encourages people to take decent time off will improve productivity. Taking time off decreases absenteeism, it improves health, and makes for a happy workforce. And we all know that a happy workforce is a motivated workforce. That means lower staff turnover and better job performance - that’s a healthier balance sheet for any business.

Read more:

How to get comfortable with your team taking time off

How much annual leave per year?

How much annual leave per year is an important question, we’re all different animals, with different needs and habits. Interestingly, despite this you’ll see most companies have a standard allowance across their workforce. I’ve always wondered why salaries are dependent on your skills and experience, and are to some extent a negotiation, yet time off is generally a blanket allowance that takes no account of your personal situation. Is it because we worry too much about what other people think, or do we feel it’s unfair that one person can have more holidays than another?

We all know people who use all their holiday allowance each year, and we all know people who never use it all. So to even things out and provide flexability we have processes to carry forward unused holidays, policies to use next year's allowance for this year's holiday, buy-backs, trading days for salary. All these systtems and processes and policies - it all sounds a lot of faff to us, why don’t we accommodate this better?

Have a read of the article on the link below, and see how we devised a time off policy at Timetastic that overcomes these problems with minimal admin burden.

Read more:

Our time off policy at Timetastic. How it works, and what we learned along the way.