5 Tips For Managing Time Off Requests

With summer just around the corner, employees are making last minute plans to take time off. But for small businesses, this can be challenging as it can be difficult to absorb another’s workload or even skillsets. So here are some tips for managing time off requests so your employees get the break they deserve and you get the peace-of-mind you need.

  1. Group Planning

If you’re a truly small team with few redundancies, then you may want to plan holidays as a group, making sure that no two critical employees are out at the same time. This will also give you a chance to distribute the workload to other employees who may be eager to try something new, if only for a week.

  1.   Deadline for Requests

Most people plan their holidays well in advance. Encourage this behavior by implementing a deadline for receiving time-off requests and put it in your written vacation policies. Make sure you set them with enough time for you to rearrange workloads, but not so far in advance no one could possibly follow them. Shoot for two to three months ahead of the travel start date.

  1.   Follow Europe’s Lead

Many European offices simply shut down for two weeks or so at the end of July or in August, eliminating the scramble and confusion with time-off requests. You may even want to coordinate with your largest clients so that shutting down your offices doesn’t disrupt their business.

  1.   Reward Peak Holiday Workers

July and August are often peak travel times so to ensure your office isn’t a ghost town for two months, consider providing perks to employees who work during these peak holiday times. Perks may include an extra day off, free gourmet meals, office massages, etc. Be creative. These rewards do not have to cost you a lot but can yield good results and keep your office running during the height of summer.  

  1.   Block Time-Off at Critical Times

Depending on your particular business cycle, there may be part of the year where you need all hands on deck. During those times, implement a hard stop on all vacations, no exceptions unless it’s a family emergency. Employees may not like it but if you enforce it, and communicate the policy, you’ll minimize complaints.

Managing employee time off requests doesn’t have to be a nightmare with some planning, transparency and creativity.

By Andrew Patricio

May 31, 2017