With good weather on the horizon and kids out of school, it’s the season of getaways. From graduations, to beach days, to the 4th of July, there are many reasons your employees will be requesting time off in the coming months. And who can blame them? Time with loved ones, celebrating milestones, and enjoying the sunshine are things we all enjoy, and they keep us happy and healthy.
Evidence shows that people don’t just benefit personally from downtime—it’s good for business too. Employees who experience rest and refreshment from vacation bring a renewed sense of focus and energy to their jobs. Performance improves, turnover decreases, and individuals are better able to cope with the stresses and challenges of their day-to-day work.
Here are a few tips for managing employee time off, giving employees their much-deserved breaks without disrupting your business:
- Be diligent and organized. Develop a standardized form for time-off requests and train employees to use it. Process requests quickly and inform them as soon as possible if their time off is approved. Openly discuss any unmanageable requests and try to come up with a solution that works for the employee and the business. Keep a vacation calendar visible to everyone.
- Know the law. Company policies must not conflict with state and federal laws pertaining to paid or unpaid time off. Review the labor laws for your area.
- Emphasize cross-training. No person should be so irreplaceable that a short-term absence disrupts the entire business. Crosstrain staff to perform the tasks of absent employees, so that critical needs are always met and clients are happy. This can also be an opportunity for motivated employees to develop new skills and grow with the business.
- Consider company-wide closures for commonly requested vacation times. If this is not possible, have clear policies for managing multiple requests, such as “first come first serve” or a rotating schedule. Encourage flexibility by allowing employees to swap shifts or trade vacation days.
- Remember that leaders need time away too! Train trusted employees to support managerial tasks, giving them chances to grow into leadership roles. Schedule vacations for yourself to avoid burnout.
Effectively managing employee leave is an important skill for every business owner. Develop straightforward policies, communicate clearly and often, and let your employees know you value their wellbeing. Minding this aspect of your business will pay off in the long run!