Best Practices for Managing Time Off During the Holidays

Planning and organizing staffing arrangements is a challenge for most organizations at any given time of the year, but especially during the holidays. If you manage employees, you know that managing time off during the holidays can be a difficult puzzle to put together.

Why is Paid Time Off Important?

You’ll find that giving employees a chance to recharge their batteries and come back with fresh perspectives might be just the thing you need to increase productivity.

Having a paid time off policy in your employee compensation plan is good for the business. The time off will pay dividends for your organization in terms of the worker’s physical and mental condition, attitude toward work, and overall productivity.

Having a breather from work while knowing that they’ll be paid will afford your staff a much-needed reprieve from the daily grind. This is particularly true if they have stressful duties or demanding responsibilities at work. The paid time off will allow them to rest, relax, and rejuvenate. When they return to work, they’ll have a new drive to accomplish what needs to be done.

How to Implement Paid Time Off

If your company doesn’t have a process for managing time off requests, you should make it a top priority. Planning vacation requests in advance and organizing staff coverage will ensure that business productivity won’t suffer during the holidays.

Set a Policy Regarding the Amount of Time

Employees vacation leave depends on different variables, like job position and length of service. This can range from no paid leave for new employees to a few weeks paid for workers who have been with the company for years. The amount of paid time off that employees earn should be clearly stated in the organization’s employee handbook. Workers should also be made aware of any changes to this policy as soon as possible.

Implement an Approval Process

Everyone has to be on the same page for a policy to work. Managing time off, especially during the holidays, requires a fair evaluation process. This should include the when the request must be made, how the vacation leave will be approved (or denied), and who is in charge of making the decision.

For most organizations, employees are asked to make holiday leave requests earlier in the year. This way, with proper planning, the organization can accommodate as many requests as possible. Depending on the organization, these decisions might be based on seniority or on a first-come first-served basis.

A special policy for the holidays isn’t out of the ordinary. Some organizations ask their employees not to take unnecessary leave over major holidays if their business heavily relies on those holidays, like retail stores, for example. Other organizations might only approve one major holiday leave in a year, so the employees must choose between Thanksgiving and Christmas rather than splitting time between the two.

Use a Rotating System

Consider a rotating schedule so every employee can take time off during the holidays. List out all your employees depending on factors you’d want to use. The workers at the top of the list will get to choose their time off days first. Then, on the next major holiday, rotate the list so those employees will be moved to the bottom. Eventually, every employee will have a chance to choose their vacation days first.

How to Reign in Requests During the Holidays

To avoid being understaffed during the holidays or dealing with disgruntled employees who are denied a vacation request, make sure everyone is aware of the paid time off policy and how to make a proper request. All employees must know precisely what to expect before the holidays arrive.

Managing Time Off is Important

Time off is important for many reasons. Proper implementation of a   vacation policy allows for continuity when several workers are away from the office for days. It’s also a way to honor and reward your employees for the time and dedication they give the company throughout the year. In the end, both sides benefit.

If you’d like to learn how we can help you develop strategies to retain your best employees and minimize risk in your organization, contact us today.