Summer vacations can be all blue skies if you plan, prepare, and have consistent policies.
Juggling employee requests for prime summer vacation slots can be real headache for HR and other managers. Experts suggest several tips to take the pain out of vacation scheduling and avoid problems such as disgruntled workers, poor morale, and tension between colleagues. Read on to make vacations fun and easy for everyone.
1. Implement and promote a written vacation policy. This should include specific guidelines and detailed priorities. This may not eliminate instances where employees are upset or disappointed, but it will clarify expectations and avoid surprises.
2. If your policy is “first come, first approved,” make this clear and apply it consistently across the board. Consider creating a calendar that can help identify times when coverage is concerning or where there are conflicts before they become problematic.
3. Encourage team members to share information about vacations. If there is open and ongoing communication, it will be easier for teams to make vacation schedules work for everyone and resolve conflicts among themselves.
4. Plan ahead for coverage. Know what tasks or projects employees are working on, what activities are unfinished, what deadlines are approaching, etc. before employees leave on vacation. If possible, spread out work tasks among other employees to cover absences.
5. Pay attention to non-vacationers. Some employees don’t have the money or interest to take trips or long vacations. However, encourage these workers to take time off and enjoy some quality time doing things they enjoy. Try to uncover why they’re not taking vacations. If they worry that their absence will hurt others, reassure them and provide the support necessary to fill any gaps.
6. Suggest “mini-breaks.” Give employees the options of long weekends or a mid-week “spa day” to refresh and recharge.
7. Model time off. Demonstrate the importance of work-life balance by taking time off yourself. When you’re away from work, trust your team to manage in your absence. Avoid regular check-ins and constant calls to the office.
8. Get help. Don’t “punish” non-vacationing staff by unfairly increasing their workloads to cover for colleagues. Bring in temps, agency staff, and others as needed so that no one is overwhelmed.