Managing Your Team’s Time Off This Holiday Season

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It’s the holiday season once again, which means it’s time to start thinking about decorations, gifts, putting up the tree, and (oh yeah) employee time off. Managing your team’s time off, especially during the holidays, can seem like a headache. 

Your company is already working hard to get everything ready for the new year, so the last thing you want to be doing as a business owner is worrying about who will be around. Since the holidays are a busy season for most, it’s a good idea to start thinking about employee time off before the real holiday rush starts. This way, you can focus less on making sure that you’ve got enough manpower to keep the business afloat and more on delighting your customers throughout the season.  

There’s no cookie-cutter way to manage your team’s time off requests because every situation is different, but there are some things to consider when it comes to time-off requests that can make the holiday season a jollier time for everyone. 

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Yep, it’s that time of year again.

The results are real.

Make Sure Your Customers Are Covered

Of course, everyone wants time off during the holidays (including yourself!) to spend with friends and family, but you likely still have customers needing attention or work that needs to get done—so what do you do? First thing’s first, focus on your customers and make sure they’re covered.

Set a company-wide deadline where everyone has to give their time-off requests. By doing this you give yourself plenty of time to process requests and work with employees on the schedule. It’s a win-win-win for everybody. You know who will be available during the holidays, your employees can make their plans, and your customers will not be left hanging. 

Establish a Work-from-Home Policy 

These days almost everyone has a laptop, iPad, or smartphone that allows them to be able to work remotely, which makes it easier than ever to establish a work-from-home policy.

Not only does letting your employees work from home allow them more flexibility for holiday festivities, but it can also make them more productive. According to the Harvard Business Review, employees are more productive when they work from home. 

If you’re worried about your employees staying on track, then establishing work-from-home policies may be a good idea. Even if you don’t carry those policies through the rest of the year, allowing for some flexibility around the holidays may be a nice gesture to your hardworking team. 

Of course, if you own a business where an employee presence is necessary, like a book store or bakery, then this option probably isn’t for you. Here’s how to manage time-off requests when you need a physical presence. 

First Come, First Serve and Seniority 

There are two primary schools of thought when it comes to approving some time-off requests and rejecting others: first come, first serve and seniority. 

First come, first serve is a more egalitarian approach to time off, but it relies on employees getting their plans lined up early. But if you want to show appreciation to long-time employees that have been with you since long before the holiday season, a seniority-focused approach might work better. Your choice should ultimately depend on the goals you have for your team. 

Scalefactor eBook cover image

Yep, it’s that time of year again.

The results are real.

Don’t Forget About Overtime

While some companies see a mad dash by employees to submit their time-off requests, others may find employees that are more than willing to work throughout the holiday season. Overtime pay is an alluring prospect for some employees, and it’s something that might be used to incentivize staff members. 

That said, do some quick projections to make sure that you know how much overtime you can afford as a business. 

Set Clear Expectations

It’s important for managers set expectations and be transparent on how requesting time off will go. Do they already know most people won’t be able to get the time? Tell them. Is the company allowing people to work from home? Make sure they know that’s an option. 

Whatever the case, start the conversation early. This allows both the company and employees to get their holiday schedules together. 

If you’re looking at how to take time off during the holidays as a business owner, make sure you check out this article.

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