Why should you manage staff holidays?

It is important to plan and manage staff holidays to ensure that employees are happily enjoying the holidays with their loved ones while the customers receive uninterrupted and quality service. It also helps preplan the workload distribution during the holiday season, among the available employees so that nobody feels burdened during the holiday time. 

Everyone looks forward to holidays, including employees. It is essential for them to stay happy, content, and productive in the organization. That said, it can seem a little tricky for organizations to manage staff holidays since they have to keep both employees and customers happy. 
Companies have to maintain minimum productivity during the holiday season, particularly for customers who belong to different geographies and do not enjoy holiday seasons at the same time your company does. 

It holds true for certain industries as well, such as healthcare, retail, customer service, and so on. Simultaneously, employees would like to spend time with their family and friends during the holidays, and would not prefer working on these days. To help companies handle so many variables, here are some tips and tricks that will help you manage staff holidays efficiently. 

10 Tips to manage staff holidays efficiently

Here are some pointers that can help you get started with holiday management in your organization. 

1. Create a holiday policy in your organization

It can’t be emphasized enough how much PTO policy is important in your organization. After all, the benefits are endless, and it brings clarity around time offs to both employees and supervisors. Similarly, holiday policy will let your employees and managers know the dos and don’ts of the staff holidays. Some points to cover in your holiday policy include:
The notice period for the leave requests: Let both the managers and the employees know how soon in advance should the leave requests be placed. This will help employees plan their holidays better and managers would know whether it can be approved or declined based on the notice offered. 
Vacation blackout period: This is the period when employees are expected to be available at work. List down the exceptions and the rules for applying leaves during the blackout period, such as for bereavement, sickness, and so on. 
Deadline for leave approvals/denials: Let the managers know how they should process leave requests, the timeline to process a leave request, and the points to consider while processing it.   
Holiday differential pay calculation: Giving up the holiday time with family is a sacrifice that should be recognized by paying them right. Furthermore, it will help some employees to save up for future vacations or pay off their debts. 


2. Ensure that the holiday policy is communicated properly.

Clarity is of utmost importance while creating and communicating your holiday policy. Address all the concerns your employees and managers might have in, in your holiday policy and ensure that it is easily accessible. 

3. Split and spread out the schedule

Split the workloads wherever possible such that all your employees get to enjoy quality holiday time. Spread out the schedule, for instance, let a few of them come on three alternate days and the remaining few on the rest of the 2 days and so on. 

4. Setup the holiday calendar at the start of the year

Let your employees plan their holidays (or plan for the differential pay) right at the beginning of the year. This eliminates last-minute hustle. 

5. Evaluate your workload during holidays before setting up a vacation schedule

Know when the workload would be more and plan your vacation blackout accordingly. Mention this in your holiday policy as well so that your employees and managers are aware of when not to plan their holidays. 

6. Be fair in your approach

Let your managers know when to allow holiday requests. It can be either a first-come-first-served approach or a need basis approach. Set proper guidelines and teach them how to handle disputes, should one arise.

7. Allow time off carrying over

Your employees may not be able to take the time off during the holiday season, but that should not prevent them from using their PTO in the next year. Set a limit on PTO carryover and let them use it the next year; after all, who doesn’t like a vacation?

8. Be flexible in your work schedule

With the world increasingly moving to the WFH schedule, it makes sense to allow that during the holiday season as well. Technology has evolved so much that it is possible to track the productivity of an employee even while working remotely, even using their cell phones. 

9. Keep a pool of part-timers and seasonal staff ready. 

These are folks who will be available during the holiday season. This will ensure uninterrupted service all through the year. 

10. Using Holiday Management software

Holiday management software streamlines the whole process, enabling employees to apply for leave requests at the click of a button. Managers are also notified of the leave requests on time and are reminded in a timely manner to help employees plan better. With approval workflows, Time off analytics, PTO policy, and employee self-service rest assured that your staff holiday management is in good hands.

Holiday planning with the right tools and schedules becomes a cinch. The main idea is to find a balance between great customer service and exceptional employee satisfaction. Plan ahead, choose the right software and communicate your needs with your employees. This will help you and them have a happy holiday season!

FAQs on staff holiday management

What are the disadvantages of using spreadsheets to manage staff holidays?

Most companies use spreadsheets to manage time off and employee holidays, especially small teams and startups, since they are easily accessible in offices. However, it has its downsides which can make holiday management quite tedious. These include:

1. Manual data entry: HR teams have to keep track of the holiday requests, and update the leave requests manually on the spreadsheets, which is time-consuming. 

2. Error-prone: Manual work often leads to duplicate entries and erroneous data. This can cause confusion, incorrect reports, and poor experience. 

3. Difficult to manage time off approvals: Time off approvals ensures that managers are on top of the time offs of their employees. It is quite difficult to manage spreadsheets and track them on time. 

4. Prior knowledge of Excel sheets: Not everyone is equipped with knowledge of spreadsheet formulas. As a result, it can become cumbersome to use, especially while creating time off reports. 

What is the role of managers in facilitating staff holidays?

Managers should know when to accept a leave request during holidays. This can depend on the following:

1. Frequency of leaves taken by the employee. 

2. If the employee had followed the protocol for applying for holiday leave

3. In case of emergency

And so on. Furthermore, they need to be objective while approving/declining leave requests and should be able to handle conflicts in an unbiased manner. 

How does holiday management software help manage staff holidays?

Holiday management software eases the process of applying for leaves. With holiday management software, employees can

1. Apply for leaves themselves and learn about their remaining balances. 

2. Managers can set up a holiday calendar at the beginning of the year and help employees plan holidays better

3. View the team calendar, and divide the workload based on employee availability.

4. Identify the leave pattern and spot the defaulters. 

5. Employees can easily access the holiday policy whenever required

And so much more.