5 Steps for Managing the Onslaught of Upcoming Vacation Requests

April 14, 2021 | 514 views

5 Steps for Managing the Onslaught of Upcoming Vacation Requests
5 Steps for Managing the Onslaught of Upcoming Vacation Requests

Whoot! Travel destinations are opening, summer is on the way, and it is time for a vacation. After a year of WFH and little-to-no travel, we are ready to take off. From the latest camper van road trip craze to new international flights, the whole world is itchy to get away.

For managers, there will be an onslaught of vacation requests to manage, and scheduling them (without hurting your business) can be tricky. No matter the timing, there are several steps you can take to control what can be a disruptive vacation season.

Step 1. Have a company policy. If you have not done so already, design an employee vacation policy that outlines how vacation is earned (even if you do not offer paid vacation days), how and when employees can take a vacation (based on your company needs first), and how you will handle disputes or overlapping requests. Acknowledge that no policy will please everyone, but that consistency will help reduce conflicts. Discuss your company vacation policy at the time of hire and as needed when high-demand business and vacation seasons are likely to overlap.

Step 2. Set deadlines for requests. Your business has its own needs to consider, and running short-staffed during your busiest season would be problematic. Business needs come first, and management must have the latitude to ensure that staffing is appropriate. Depending on your needs, the lead time for requests could be a few weeks or many months ahead.  Implement deadlines by which employees must request time off so that you can plan accordingly.

Step 3. Develop and plan for back-up. When employees are absent, another person has to cover their responsibilities. Keep current records of who is willing to cover extra shifts or work overtime. Gear up for holiday workers as needed, or spread tasks among other employees to ensure full coverage of your business needs. Be prepared to take on more yourself, too.

Step 4. Remain flexible. While policies protect your organization, common-sense matters, also. Do employees want to swap days off? That should make little difference to management, for example, so allow employees some flexibility within the policy you establish. Keeping them satisfied is still one component of your success, so work with employees as much as you can without unreasonably disrupting your workplace.

Step 5. Consider incentives. If your business needs employees during a specific period, event, or season, consider adding an incentive for those who agree to work during that time frame. If an absent employee causes financial strain, an incentive is an excellent way to offset the potential damage while showing employees that you appreciate them.

The months ahead will bring numerous new requests from employees begging for a break from last year’s mundane and repetitive at-home existence. After a year like we’ve all experienced, there will be a deluge. With a workable policy and preparation, managers will reduce conflict among workers and still provide the business’s necessary staffing. 

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. For many years, Atlas Business Solutions has been named one of Software Magazine’s Top 500 Software Companies.

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