7 ways to manage summer holiday requests

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Summer 2018 is almost here, which means you’re about to hit peak holiday booking season! But with a spike in requests for time off, it can be a nightmare to manage properly. How can you stay organised? Well, here are 7 ways keep your business streamlined.

  1. Set up an annual leave policy

You may already have this in place. If not, it’s time to get one. Why is it important? Staff will be able to read through it, understand how to book time off (it changes from business to business, let’s not forget), and then book holiday time. Simple as that!

make sure you cover the following in your policy:

  • How to book time off
  • The amount of notice required
  • The rules about overlapping holidays
  • The total amount someone can take at any given time
  1. Manage requests with HR software

Find a reputable company such as BrightHR, who provide staff holiday planner software to help you manage your employees’ holiday requests. Staff management software is an ideal way to keep on top of holiday bookings all year round. Thanks to technology, these are automated and you can easily get 24/7 access to holiday records.

Better yet, once an employee requests some time off, it’s a case of signing off their request. You may need to reject them, though, so here are some details on that…

  1. Let down staff the right way

Some of your staff may be left frustrated if they’re rejected. They may want to go off on a luxurious holiday, but then be stopped. An effective strategy to let them down should be set up.

Be upfront about it. Explain to them why it’s not possible—encourage them to book at another time.

However, is it legal to refuse staff holiday time? Yes, employers have the right to refuse annual leave—it’s really a balancing act between the needs of your business and keeping your hardworking staff happy.

Ensure they have plenty of additional support so that holiday time isn’t the only way to unwind.

  1. Stop overlapping holidays

The chances are high you’ll receive multiple requests for popular weeks through July and August—how do you handle that?

A first come, first served rule is often effective. To stop one person always getting the same time off, though, you could introduce a rotating system to even things out.

Again, if you have HR technology in place (such as a nifty staff holiday planner), this will monitor any overlap to ensure it can’t happen.

  1. Plan ahead

If you have a holiday notice period of a month, that provides you with plenty of time to plan for your staff member’s absence.

You’ll likely have less staff in operation during July and August, it’s inevitable, so plan ahead to ensure your objectives are clear. Then you’ll still be able to deliver between these two months, despite having fewer staff around.

  1. Have ready access to part-timers or freelancers

When key staff leave for, for instance, a fortnight, you may want some backup. Having access to part-time staff, or even freelancers who could work remotely, is a popular way to overcome productivity issues.

  1. Have a blackout period

Last but not least, at some point in the year your business might simply be too busy. You may need all your staff working—introduce a holiday blackout in a key month to ensure your targets will be met.

You may, for instance, be a tourism company. If you have a skeletal staff at key booking season, this could be a disaster. Make sure your staff know this so they can set their holiday time at other points—in this respect, a blackout is perfectly justifiable.

You also don’t want to overdo this, or you could frustrate some staff. Having one month blocked is fine, but any more and staff could classify it as unreasonable.