5 Tips to Plan for Employee Vacations

Melissa Fasulo
June 1 2021

We hear this so many times: You need to fill your own cup first before you can fill that of others. 

As an employer, you want to ensure that your employee’s health and well-being are your top priority. It is also your absolute duty to demonstrate that it is. Why? Your employee’s health and well-being are the real deal-breakers when it comes to preventing long-term sickness, staff turnover, and workplace toxicity.

Everyone knows it. Time off from work plays a key role in mental, emotional, and physical wellness. However, sometimes there can be a degree of shame or tension associated with requesting time off. An employee might think things such as: Am I causing an inconvenience? Am I asking for too much? What will my employer think of me? With the pressure to hustle and grind in today’s society, rest can oftentimes be both overlooked and underestimated.

The good news? As an employer, you have the power to change that. How? Make it a point to check in regularly with your employee. Dedicate some 1:1’s to express just how much you value and appreciate all of their ongoing efforts, dedication, and contributions. Then, go on to highlight how important it is that they take time off to recharge, spend time with their family, travel, attend to personal projects and pursue other activities. After all, they definitely DESERVE it!

Remember, well-built time off management increases productivity and boosts employee happiness, which are both key factors in the success of your business.

So now that your employee feels appreciated and cared for with the granted ease to request time off, just how do you prepare and plan for their upcoming vacations? If you cover your bases properly, you will avoid being understaffed, overwhelmed, and hitting rock bottom.

Now, how to manage your team’s vacation requests?

Here are five tips to help you get prepared:

1. Go Over the Vacation Policy with your Employees

Your vacation policy and procedure should include instructions for submitting vacation requests and explain both vacation entitlements and how conflicting vacation requests are handled (seniority, company needs, etc.). In addition, allow open communication so that your team feels comfortable enough to share their feedback on the current structure and procedures in place. Consider their opinions, and make accommodations when possible. Remember to anticipate the high season for vacations and prepare how you will approach time off requests for that time.

2. Manage Vacation Requests with the Right Tools

With Folks HR’s PTO management features, in just a few clicks, employees can make their requests and have them either approved or denied by their manager. Want to avoid having too many employees on vacation at the same time? Of course, you do! With the Absence Calendar feature, you can access a full picture of all employees’ schedules and vacation requests. Say goodbye to compromised projects due to staff shortages thanks to our vacation calendar. They are officially a thing of the past.

3. Meet with Employees Who Are Going on Vacation Before They Leave

This serves to understand if they have upcoming deadlines, essential tasks, and pending projects that others need to take up to ensure a smooth temporary transition. You want to make sure to have all records of important information and know exactly where to locate relevant files such as contact information. It is always a great idea to create a cheat sheet to share with your team with reminders or answers to questions that can arise while an employee is away.

4. Draft a Second-In-Command List

Plan workload by establishing who will take over what while a team member is absent. This list maps out temporary delegations and duties to complete with their respected deadlines. It will keep any projects and responsibilities from falling through the cracks and holds the team accountable for what needs to be done.

5. Spread the Word!

Communicate the absence of an employee to relevant parties and flag any change in workflow. You could even share the vacation calendar to the whole team. To alleviate and manage some external expectations, have your team member change their voicemail greeting and set up an out-of-office email reply. These messages should include the dates of their absence and an alternative contact to reach.

Remember, returning from a vacation is not always an easy transition and it can definitely be a challenge. Let your employee know that you are well aware of all this and that you and the team are there to help them. As an employer, you can schedule a 1:1 meeting as a reverse transition. This time, it is now your turn to update the employee on upcoming deadlines or accounts they may have missed while away. A proactive employer can also avoid booking a bunch of meetings on their first day back to allow the employee to catch up on emails, duties and reconnect with the workplace. This will bring them the comfort and support they need to build back momentum and ease their way into the swing of things with confidence, motivation, and that newfound level of productivity.

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