Take the Stress Out of Scheduling Employee Vacations

vacationsSummer vacation is supposed to be a care-free time away from the daily grind. But as a business leader, the warmer months often bring an influx of requests for time off, increasing your workload and stress level. Simplify scheduling employee vacations with a bit of planning and a little extra communication.

Set Clear Expectations
During the busy summer months, make sure your staff knows the deadlines for asking for time off. Encourage them to plan ahead by turning in their requests as early as possible.

If necessary, set blackout days where no one can request time off, or set a limit as to how many employees can request off for a particular day. If requests exceed this number, determine who gets time off by seniority or by whoever asked first.

Reduce Conflict
When multiple employees want vacation leave at the same time, make it clear that approval is contingent upon workplace demands. For popular time-off holidays like Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day, consider offering bonuses or other incentives to employees who work those shifts.

Another idea is to allow employees to only request leave for one holiday in a season. For example, an employee couldn’t ask off for days around both Thanksgiving and Christmas. This will allow you to be fair and say “yes” to more staff requests.

Fill in the Gaps
When employees turn in time-off requests, have them also submit detailed project lists. This way you’ll have a clear understanding of what needs to be tackled in their absences. Requiring this in advance will ensure you have plenty of time to reassign duties to available staff. To lighten the load of remaining employees, ensure team members complete as many of their assignments as possible before they head out for vacation.

Whether it’s for a few days or a month, running on a skeleton crew can take its toll on the workplace. If you’re going to be particularly short-handed, use temporary workers to help fill in the gaps while regular staff is on leave.

Take a Break
In the flurry of scheduling time off for employees, don’t forget to plan your own getaway. Just make sure you give yourself a long enough leash so you don’t end up on a “fauxcation.” A fauxcation looks like a break, but in reality your time away is anything but relaxing – calling the office every couple hours, conducting business meetings from your hotel room, or constantly checking email on your smartphone.

Research shows vacations are good for our health and help people live longer, happier lives. Even just a few days of relaxation can help reinvigorate you for the demands of daily work life.

Keep summer vacations from becoming a burden by setting clear expectations and establishing a game plan in advance. Your staff needs a break every now and then, and after a tumultuous year, they deserve it and so do you. Make time for a little relaxation, and you and your team will experience sunnier attitudes and renewed pep on the job.

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