Summer is a highly anticipated season for many reasons. For your staff, it’s time to take a vacation. Your hard-working employees deserve the time. However, your business must continue to operate.
The solution is not to deny every time off request to your office. It’s a one-way ticket to getting your best workers to accept an offer from another company. What you need to do instead is find a way to keep everything organized and in good working order, even during employee vacations.
Organizing your team when they’re all on the same page and in the same room can be hard enough. However, we have full confidence in your ability to put together a vacation plan to keep your business running smoothly. Here are some tips that can help you:
Use shared calendars
This first tip will come in handy throughout the year, not just when juggling employee vacations. This will be especially useful now, but a shared calendar will be a valuable tool in every season. This unique digital tool won’t just upgrade your entire time tracking system. It will also boost communication, transparency and teamwork with a single package.
With a shared corporate calendar, days away, meeting plans, and team deadlines are all accessible from one place. People going on vacation can easily check the deadlines they need to meet before jumping on a plane. Those staying in the office can view holiday schedules so they know who to contact with questions or comments.
Another aspect of shared calendars that might be useful is planning links. These links can be shared with certain people who need access to your availability. Scheduling links can include out-of-office hours for your employees. This will prevent them from being booked or contacted while trying to enjoy some free time.
Create an out of office plan
Make sure everyone in your organization understands in advance what is expected of them while their colleagues are away. A few modifications should be made to meet the needs of the team when a member or two is missing. If you know in advance what it takes to run a ship smoothly, you’re more likely to ride out even the roughest seas.
An out of office plan is what we have in mind here. This is your “emergency icebreaker” plan when employee vacations drain your resources more than you would like. This will reorganize workflows around absent employees and ensure that the workload is distributed evenly among all remaining workers.
For example, suppose one of your customer representatives is planning a well-deserved cruise this summer. Your out-of-office plan might be to split their client list evenly among the rest of the team. During their trip, all their clientele will be properly taken care of instead of being left alone until their representative returns.
Communication is essential for an organization. This becomes even more essential when team members are moving in and out of the office to take a well-deserved vacation. The better your communication methods, the easier it will be to keep operations running smoothly with employees coming in and out of the office.
One method of communication that has proven very useful in recent years is project management software. Most products have intuitive text channels for sharing messages, files, and other resources with your team. Even an employee on vacation can briefly check into their hotel room if they wish.
Text channels in particular accomplish something that email channels cannot. An open text channel invites ongoing conversation and dialogue. Mail chains are rather heavy and information can be easily lost. Try project management software and see how your communication changes with its implementation.
Compile a summary of employees on vacation
Part of keeping your team on all cylinders is making sure that employees returning from their trips don’t miss a step. You don’t want them dragging their feet for another full week after returning from summer vacation. An effective way to get them up to speed quickly is to prepare a summary for everyone when they return.
The summaries you compile should be concise but thorough. Write down anything you think an employee will need to know they missed while they were away. For example, they could use bullet points from all missed meetings. This way, any key information transmitted by the organization still reaches them, even if they missed the formality.
Another compilation you can put together is a to-do list for each employee to complete when they return. This gives them an idea of where to start once they’re back in the saddle. Even a little direction can help post-vacationers get back up and running faster.
Plan around vacation days
An ideal scenario would be to process your employees’ leave requests before the start of summer. If you can accomplish this, you can plan your projects and assignments around key absences. Extra effort may be required, but it will be worth it if everyone can enjoy their vacation without interruption.
Let’s take an example using an imaginary man named Kevin, who now runs your marketing department. Kevin’s children will be out of school and will want to visit Italy in two weeks. Your goal could be to develop and prepare your summer marketing campaign before it leaves. Since he loves Venice, the rest of the marketing team can take care of running and maintaining said marketing plan.
You can make these types of adjustments across all of your services. You can give your reps a higher quota in the days leading up to their trip. You can even postpone a major project until the fall to ensure everyone is on deck for the best quality.
Hire temporary assistance
When all else fails, you can always try hiring temporary help. Seasonal employees sometimes jump on job opportunities when demand is high. They are rewarded with more than fair wages and the overtime they crave.
You may have to pay top dollar for good help, but remember it’s only temporary. Getting a replacement for a few weeks will pay off in the long run when your full-time employees can take their time off without a hitch. Employees tend to feel happier and more energized when their workplace cares about them in this way.
Seasonal assistance also resumes during the holiday season at the end of the year. If you have a lot of workers trying to visit family for Christmas, this option may extend to this time of year as well.
Take notes on methods that make it easier to organize during a busy summer. Keep them in your back pocket for next year and the year after. Every summer, you will get better and better at keeping your business running smoothly while taking care of your employees.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Dziana Hasanbekava; pexels; THANKS!
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