It’s October, which means football, the flu, and family obligations are in full swing. Although you might have thought the summer months were overwhelming in terms of time off requests, the Fall is the start of the season when more people call in sick (many times, even when they aren’t physically ill).
As an employer, the influx of time off requests during the holidays can leave you short handed. And this can happen at a moment’s notice, forcing you to face unexpected holes in your schedule with limited time to fill them. Here are a few tips to help you cope.
Give Your Team More Control
Give your team control over decision making in your business – including over their schedule and empower them to find their own replacements. This is a tip we offer over and over again and yet it still feels a little uncomfortable for many employers. And it makes sense. If your employees are the ones calling in sick and asking for time off, it’ll be hard enough to find other employees willing to step up and fill those gaps, right? Not quite.
There’s a psychology behind giving your team control over their schedule and asking them to find a replacement for their shift.
When an employee requests time off, they know the importance of having that time away. When they’re left in charge of finding a replacement so they can have their request granted, they’re invested in finding someone to help, so they can take the leave they need. During their search, they’ll see how others are willing to step up for them. Then, the rule of reciprocity kicks in. The next time someone approaches them asking to cover a shift, they’ll feel more inclined to help out.
The schedule ultimately works itself out, and you, the employer, don’t have to take on the brunt of the work filling gaps and giving team members time off.
Enable Flexible Work Options
To the extent it’s possible, infuse flexible work options into your company culture. This way, your employees have more opportunities to continue producing great work even when circumstances keep them physically out of the office.
For example, a team member might need to be at home with a sick child but still wants to work. In these cases, it makes sense to offer flexible working options so you can keep your schedule intact, reduce the burden on your employees, and stay productive.
Keep an Open Mind
It’s easy to pass unintentional judgment against employees when they ask for time off for what you think are silly reasons. You’re working your fingers to the bone and they’re wanting time off from work to go to a family gathering.
The reason for a request might not always make sense to you but try to keep an open mind. There might be more than meets the eye to them wanting time off. This will reduce your stress and your team’s stress over the long run.
Handling the Influx of Requests
It might be a busy time of year for time off requests but that doesn’t mean it has to stunt your growth. By having a time-off plan in place, you can stay productive in your business and keep your team happy throughout this busy time of year.
Author Profile Jon Forknell is the Vice President and General Manager of Atlas Business Solutions, Inc., a software marketing company specializing in employee scheduling software, including ScheduleBase employee scheduling software, and other business software solutions. In the past, Jon has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Atlas Business Solutions was named as one of Software Magazine’s Top 500 Software Companies in 2004 through 2007 and again in 2010, 2013 and 2014.