The 4th of July typically ushers in vacation season, when many employees choose take days or even weeks off. As supportive as you are of your team taking time off and enjoying work-life balance, one thing you cannot afford is to have most of your employees want the same week off.
Handling employee vacation scheduling and leave conflicts can be a huge challenge. Fortunately, most of the headaches can be minimized by laying clear policies and doing some advanced planning. Below are ways you can keep the challenges to a minimum, both for employees planning vacations as well as those who will be covering for them during their absence:
- Set a deadline for submitting vacation requests. This gives you enough time to project how employee absences might affect deadlines and delivery dates, and just as importantly, resolve any conflicts. Depending on your business, this could be anywhere from a month to a year in advance.
- Cover the topic of employee vacation policy during the hiring and orientation process and provide new employees with written vacation policies and procedures. Make sure to discuss peak work periods when vacations may be restricted. If there are any conflicts with major holidays or prior commitments, discuss them at that time to prevent surprises later on.
- Prepare for the absences. If colleagues will cover vacationers’ jobs, make sure those taking time off provide key contact information, a summary of work in progress, access to needed work files, and other pertinent information to meet crucial deadlines. Provide a checklist of items needed so that those going on vacations can be organized and focus on what they need to set up.
- Divide vacationing employees’ duties among several colleagues rather than overwhelming one employee with the vacationing employee’s full workload.
- Have employees with similar skills, tasks and responsibilities to trade off vacation dates among themselves, so long as it won’t affect deadlines and output quality.
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