Scheduling Vacations to Maintain High Service & Production Levels

March 2, 2022 | 1,855 views

Scheduling Vacations to Maintain High Service & Production Levels
Scheduling Vacations to Maintain High Service & Production Levels

Vacation planning is on the upswing. Finally, we can imagine international trips and summer beach houses in our future. We want to visit family in person rather than on video calls. With these longings comes the challenge of allowing employees time off without interrupting the operations. Everyone needs a break, but a business often struggles if specific roles are left unfilled. Vacations or other PTO needs planning so that employees get what they need and the business maintains high performance levels.

In the last couple of years, however, vacations and travel were curtailed, and the result is a larger number of employees with substantial amounts of “banked” or accrued vacation hours. That is a problem for employers because more workers will be requesting overlapping days off. To manage this, business owners can do several things to minimize any negative impact:

  1. Remind employees that they have to plan and use (or lose) any accrued PTO that will expire by the end of the year. Be proactive and encourage others to plan collaboratively well in advance.
  2. Assign blackout dates when you need everyone at work. For restaurants, this could be Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day. For libraries, summer weeks might be restricted because children are out of school and use the facility more. Choose black-out dates to ensure necessary coverage for seasonally high demand.
  3. Insist that employees request vacations of no more than one week so that others can use their PTO, too. It is kinder to the whole group, and the organization is not operating without a key employee for a lengthy period.
  4. Implement vacation requests either based on a rotating list. Each year, move those who had the first choice to the bottom and let others choose their dates first.
  5. Consider providing incentives to work on holidays when most want time off. It could be a financial bonus or extra time off during lower-demand seasons.
  6. Cross-train employees to expand abilities. Small businesess needs workers to fill in for those on vacation. When someone is gone, someone capably steps in, and business-as-usual is maintained.
  7. Allow more flexible scheduling while still meeting customer needs. From split shifts to condensed schedules, a more accommodating schedule benefits employees and your organization when vacations intrude.
  8. Permit those in identical positions to manage their vacation dates as long as they fill their shifts appropriately.
  9. Instead of vacation days, offer to pay out accrued hours in a lump sum. Some workers might opt for this instead of taking time off. 

Vacation and PTO policies create consistency, but the last two years have been anything but consistent. As more employees finally visit relatives or take their previously canceled trips, it pays to provide scheduling options that maintain your organization’s staffing needs. Your workers get a much-needed vacation, and you can creatively fill your staffing needs.

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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