holiday management

They’re All Going On a Summer Holiday

I wrote this post for our partners at The HR Dept to include in their newsletter.

It’s soon going to be summer and once again we’ll enter the holiday season.  Comes around every year, you know, the disruption of holiday wind down, the actual leave followed by the inevitable stories and iPhone huddles on their return.  Perhaps it would be better all round if employees were compelled to take 3 days leave either side of the actual dates shown on their airline tickets.   You probably can’t do that, but you can at least make sure that they book their dates correctly by making sure that everyone understands how leave should be booked in terms of both your company rules and tools.   At least there is no Olympics this year.

For bosses, of course, there is the challenge of keeping the wheels on, providing cover or at the very least, hoping that those remaining will be able (and happy) to take up the slack.  It’s a long way from the factory shutdowns or ‘works weeks’ of years gone by.  A time when each region or city had its own coordinated week to ensure the railways, boarding houses and seaside pubs could cope with demand.  These days many workplaces become like a ghost town for weeks on end and the morale of those ‘left behind’ can take a blow.  So, what can be done to make sure that everyone keeps their cool even if temperatures do rise.  Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

  • A fun incentive for those that are left  – every week that someone is on holiday hold a ‘Beach wear Friday’ – throw that dress code out and invite your people to dress for the beach a day.
  • Treat everyone to an ice cream.
  • What about hiring a general purpose temp over the main summer break to help out – they may turn into a star that you decide you want to keep.
  • Alternatively, fewer people can be a great opportunity to allow others to try new areas of work.  Don’t frighten people; some preliminary training is a good idea.
  • Create a standardised template for employees to ‘handover’ before going on leave

If the weather turns nice then expect to see last minute requests for leave.  Make sure you have a clear process for dealing with these – first come first served?   Wherever possible, grant it!  People who take leave when they want it and enjoy it, come back so much more refreshed.

Finally and perhaps most importantly, how will they all cope when you take a holiday?  You do take holidays don’t you?