Handling the Surge in Vacation Requests This Summer

Efficiently manage summer calendar challenges for employers. Discover strategies to handle employee time-off requests effectively.

Vacation Requests This Summer

With spring in full swing, the world of work is one step closer to summer. As the weather gets warmer, many of your staff will begin preparations for https://blog.namely.com/the-most-popular-time-off-requests-are their long-awaited summer vacations. A survey by Namely showed that people took the longest vacations in summer. But as an employer, managing the surge in vacation requests can be challenging.  

So, how do you navigate this season while keeping everyone happy? You’ll have to juggle multiple requests, so everyone gets a chance to go on vacation and plan shifts and schedules, so you’re never understaffed. It’s all about finding the right balance and being proactive in communication and planning.

Fortunately, planning vacation schedules doesn’t have to leave you feeling like you need a vacation of your own. With innovative technology solutions like staff vacation planners, managing time off requests and schedules can be done in just a few minutes. 

Here are a few things you can do, sometimes with the help of an easy-to-use vacation planning software, to effectively handle the inevitable surge of vacation requests this summer. 

Create a Shared Holiday Calendar

A vacation planner helps you create a shared holiday calendar accessible to all your staff. When all employees can see who’s off, it’ll help them plan their vacation to avoid clashes. It also allows employees to take on some of the responsibility of vacation planning and consider how their workload aligns with their requested time off.  

Creating a shared holiday calendar also helps save time and reduce administrative burdens. Instead of manually keeping track of employee vacation requests and schedules, a shared calendar is updated easily, and all employees can access it at any time.

For example, when an employee books specific vacation dates, it blocks off those dates for others whose absence will disrupt your workflow. Employers can also block off dates when they want everyone to come in so no one can book those days for vacation. 

This will help streamline the vacation planning process and free up time for other important tasks.

Ensure Employees Have Read Your Vacation Policy

Start by ensuring you have a vacation policy in place. This policy should contain straightforward information on how you handle vacation requests, so all staff understand the process. It should also explain your rules around vacations to establish fairness and transparency. 

A survey by accountemps found that 56% of Canadian workers prefer to take time off during summer. Ensure all employees read and understand the terms of your vacation policy. This will help provide clarity if their vacations are denied because of staff shortages, holiday seasons, or peak vacation time—like summer.

If employees are aware that vacation requests during a specific time may be denied due to high demand, they may then choose to plan their vacation at a different time. This can help prevent understaffing and drops in productivity. Plus, employees are more likely to get their vacation requests approved, which is a win-win.

Operate a “First Come, First Served” System

Encourage employees to plan their vacations. It’ll help their colleagues and managers plan better so deadlines can be met, and there’s cover for essential tasks. Operating on a first-come, first-served basis will help streamline this process. It can also make managing your calendar much easier.

Be mindful of how you manage this because it may cause some tension if you fail to handle it professionally. Periods like Christmas or summer will see most of your staff requesting time off, which can lead to conflicts if not managed properly. 

So, you may have to get creative and create a system for dividing these peak seasons that work for your business. An example is a rotational system that ensures everyone gets a fair chance to take time off. 

With this approach, staff are aware of what dates are available to block off in your vacation planner.  It can also help managers anticipate staffing needs and prevent a last-minute rush of requests. 

Be Flexible and Offer Scheduling Options

Another way to manage a surge in vacation requests is to offer flexible working options like remote or part-time work. This creates a balance where employees can enjoy time away from the office but still complete essential tasks.

A survey by OfficeTeam found that 46% of Canadian employees would be interested in flexible work schedules. Flexible work arrangements in summer help increase employee satisfaction as they enjoy time in the sun. When staff feels their employer values their personal life and well-being, they’re more likely to be engaged and committed to their work. This, in turn, can lead to increased productivity and better job performance.

Endeavor to set realistic expectations for productivity and work hours. Checking in with remote or part-time employees regularly can also help maintain a sense of connectedness and ensure that everyone is on the same page. Also, establish clear communication rules, which will ensure this arrangement is a win-win for both parties.

Cross-Train Employees To Fill Gaps

A smart approach to managing increased vacation requests is to cross-train employees to fill in for staff on vacation. This will ensure work schedules aren’t disrupted, as there’ll always be someone to take over essential tasks. 

Cross-training is also valuable for employee development. It allows your staff to expand their knowledge, gain new skills, and stay ahead of industry trends. A team with flexible skillsets reduces the impact of multiple absences since you can easily re-assign crucial tasks to staff who are present.  

Another advantage of cross-training is it shows employers which employees have strong potential for leadership roles and who can handle more complex tasks, which can help with succession planning. 

Effective vacation request management requires a proactive approach and a willingness to be flexible. It’s important to consider the unique needs of your organization when managing vacation requests and remember, happy employees lead to a more productive and successful workplace.

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Thea Watson

Chief International Growth & Marketing Officer at BrightHR

Thea Watson is Chief International Growth and Marketing Officer at BrightHR. She is responsible for BrightHR’s global growth strategy. Thea has significant strategic marketing experience, including driving digital transformation across email, web, social media, and marketing automation, running sales-focused omnichannel marketing programs through both inbound and outbound tactics, managing high-performing lead generation strategies for sales, and delivering incremental engagement and value through effective segmentation of large customer volumes. She believes that marketing can transform an organization if the customer is at the heart of the decision-making, while the activities are commercially relevant and focused.