Running a business means organising the workforce. By hiring employees, you make sure that there is enough manpower there to run the business smoothly – usually you´ll hire just as many employees as you need in order to keep the processes running. But, of course, employees need their time off. Even though the holiday season can be tricky for business owners, there is really no need to dread it.
A little organization throughout the year helps you keep track of when employees are planning to take their days off. The better you communicate your vacation request policy, the easier it becomes to plan for the holiday season.
Set Guidelines for Vacation Requests
Person A asks you in January if they can take a week off in August. You sign their request. In March, Person B comes up to you with their request: two weeks off to spend some time in London in August – sure. A month later, person C wishes you to sign their request for August. You think it should be fine and agree. At some point, person D asks you for a last-minute vacation – you sign it but start to feel a little unsettled.
As August comes, your office, garage or production hall is hardly busy, and you seem to not make a lot of progress with your open orders. Even though this is the worst-case scenario, many business owners know the feeling of being overwhelmed by the task of rationally planning for the common holiday seasons.
Setting guidelines for vacation requests is the first step to standardizing the vacation and stand-in plan in your company. And that is the key to a smooth development of the seasons in question. How about a standardized form for vacation requests?
Act Quickly on All Requests
By reacting to requests quickly, you remain fair towards each employee. If you receive a request, take a look at it and see who else has already taken the same period of time off. Ponder if you can do without them, sign the request. If not, get back to them in order to find a solution.
Different Ways to Manage Employee Holidays
Earlier, we mentioned a standardized system for vacation requests, plans and stand-in arrangements. That makes it easier to keep track of everything. The following systems are popular with many business owners in the country:
Bespoke Holiday System
This kind of system only makes sense for employers with a team of 20 or more. Bespoke systems are usually tailored to a business by a group of experts, who does just that: elaborate vacation plans for companies. While the outcome may be okay, the business owner may have too little insight into the planning process himself. Also, when set, the system seems to not be flexible. The costs for a bespoke vacation system are to be considered as well.
Online HR Systems
Instead of using analog forms for vacation approval, how about a staff holiday approval software? Requests would be saved in a central software and can be opened, considered, approved or disapproved. As everything is in one place, the business owner and the HR office have a perfect overview about holiday peak times.
Paper & Spreadsheets
Not every business has the means to afford HR software. Of course, the analogue administration of employees and their days off is a possibility as well. A standardized form and an elaborate spreadsheet help keeping track of approved vacations and open requests.
This system is possibly the oldest one, and has successfully proved its functionality throughout decades. A simple calendar on the wall, for which every employee has its own color of pen, can offer a great overview of approved vacation days. While this works fine for smaller businesses, the system is not suitable for companies with ten or more employees. As clarity suffers with a rising number of colors, lines and symbols, bigger teams should switch to spreadsheet or software solutions.