Managing Employee Vacation Time

June 9, 2016


Out of office

Summer is here and with it brings an increase in employee requests for time off. This can be a real headache for the person managing employee vacations, trying to grant as many vacations as possible while also making sure you are properly staffed. This is often a thankless task since no one is ever going to send you flowers for granting their vacation request. But they sure will let you know how displeased they are if you say no.

Here are some tips to smooth out this process.

No Surprises

Make sure your employees are aware of your vacation policy during the hiring process and provide them with written vacation policies and procedures. They should also be aware of any especially busy periods during which vacations may be prohibited or restricted. (If there is such a “vacation black-out” period, make sure to enforce this equally, company-wide.) On the flip side, if you know you have a period that is traditionally not busy, you can request that your employees use a portion of their time off during this time. Again, as long as this is made clear upfront, this should not be a problem.

Power to the People

Put the time-off request sheet in a common area, like the cafeteria or staff room. This will make it immediately clear to your employees what time has already been requested and may help to avoid problems right away. Sometimes your employees may be able to work out potential conflicts by themselves.

Say “Yes”

Whenever possible, say yes to time off requests, even if it means a little more stress for you. After all, vacation time is an employee’s right, but it also makes your workers happier and more productive. And the more you are able to grant vacation time the more goodwill you will create between you and your employees. Conversely, making a habit of saying “no” more than “yes” may lead to disgruntled employees. At the very least, they may be reluctant to come to your aid should you need help or, at the worst, leave your company as a result.

You Need Time for Time Off

A good policy is to have your employees give a month’s notice before their requested dates. This will enable you to make sure you are properly staffed during an employee’s vacation and even give you enough time to hire a temp, if necessary. Of course, depending on your business, you may need more time.

Allowing for Emergencies

Sometimes emergencies arise and the employee is unable to give proper notice. This is where having built up some goodwill can really come in handy. If colleagues will be covering the vacationer’s job, make sure those taking time off provide all the necessary information to carry

out their work, including a summary of work in progress, key contact information, how to access needed files, and other important data. Make sure every employee has a checklist of needed items so they know how to prepare before they leave. When possible, split the vacationing employee’s duties amongst several coworkers to ease the extra burden.

Incentivize Your Employees to Stay

Consider offering bonuses or other incentives to employees who agree to work during the most popular vacation periods, since too many employee absences could be bad for business.

By implementing these policies, you can avoid many of the major headaches during peak vacation time, and maybe even manage to enjoy some time off yourself. For more guidance on schedule management, contact Vanguard Resources.