As summer arrives, many employees are eyeing their next vacation destination. Managing absences can get tricky for even experienced business managers, especially if they don’t plan ahead.
However, employee vacations don’t have to slow your business down. There are ways to plan around them, and even encourage them, to keep workflows running smoothly and employees energized. Here’s how you can make it happen:
Recognize the Importance of Employee Downtime
First of all, you need to acknowledge the fact that employee vacations are necessary. When a manager is willing to work with employees to take time off, the process becomes a lot smoother. Additionally, you’ll see notable improvements in workplace productivity.
The American Psychological Association’s Work and Well-Being survey found that 58% of workers were more productive and 55% believed their work quality increased following a vacation. Paid time off (PTO) allows employees to recharge and come back with an improved mindset, which ends up paying dividends to your business.
Once you realize that vacations help your business instead of hurt it, you’ll be more open to implementing the following suggestions to make time off increasingly possible. Employees, in turn, will be more willing to cooperate with your PTO guidelines when you show them that you truly value their vacation time.
Operate Above the Bare Minimum
A big reason why businesses struggle with employee vacations is because they regularly operate on a bare minimum basis. They have just enough employees to cover every shift. When someone asks for PTO, it means there’s no one who can pick up the slack.
Employees who are overworked and feel incapable of taking time off will burn out quickly. This leads to a decline in job performance and high turnover rates, which are complicated and costly for businesses to handle.
Sit down with your finance team and calculate the budget needed to add one or two more team members to your roster. Even having a few part-time or on-call employees can help cover essential tasks when a worker is on vacation or even taking sick leave.
Encourage Vacations During Slow Season
While you’re building a culture that supports time off, try to do so as efficiently as possible. Businesses will be able to support employee vacations much more easily during their slow season as opposed to their peak months.
Let’s use a car dealership and/or its service department as an example. The auto industry typically booms in the summer when driving conditions are optimal and travel is more feasible. You’ll want all hands on deck in these months, so encourage your employees to take more time off in the fall and winter.
Of course, many vacations and family reunions are planned in the summer when kids are out of school. Don’t use the busy months as an excuse to never allow an employee to take time off. Work with all employees to stagger their PTO so you can cater to their personal situations and the needs of your business.
Update Your Scheduling System
The system that many organizations use to field and approve time-off requests is outdated. There are too many hoops to jump through, or forms get lost and verbal commitments are forgotten. If you really don’t want employee vacations to slow down your business, update your scheduling system.
Start by moving the entire process online. If you’re reading this blog, you probably already use online appointment software to benefit your business and its customers. Implement technology to do the same with your employee PTO scheduling.
Scheduling software will keep employee shifts organized, ensuring that everyone knows their work schedule and every day is covered. PTO requests can be digitally submitted, reviewed, and approved in minutes. The schedule can then be altered accordingly without miscommunications or lost time.
Establish PTO Guidelines
Rules are never fun, but they’re necessary to maintain order and equity. With a set of rules and guidelines in place, your employees will be able to better choose when to cash in on their vacation time.
For example, one of your rules might be that two employees in the same department can’t be on vacation at the same time. Workers then know that they won’t be able to ask off work, except for emergencies, if certain dates are already claimed. This also encourages employees to plan in advance so that a lack of foresight doesn’t cause them to miss a wedding or a family reunion.
Transition as Much As Possible to Remote Work
Employees who work from home have much more flexibility when it comes to taking a vacation. In many cases, they can still work on the road, and the business won’t even notice they’re gone. Enabling as many remote work opportunities as possible keeps your business running even with vacation time in the mix.
For appointment-based businesses, there may be fewer opportunities right now for remote work. Still, you can look at digital customer service options or have your back-office teams work from home. Your IT technician can be just as effective from a hotel room in the Bahamas if you really need them.
Another exciting development in the world of appointment-based businesses is telecommunication. Some professionals, such as physicians and therapists, can hold consultations with patients via videoconferencing. This gives these service providers more scheduling flexibility, allowing them to plan vacation activities around the appointments they have each day.
Vacations are an essential part of life. Make sure both you and your team are taking the time you need to unwind and relax. And use these tips to make sure your business doesn’t suffer because of it.