Summer is a highly anticipated season for many reasons. For your workforce, this is the time to take a vacation. Your workers deserve some time off. However, your business still needs to keep its operations running.
The solution is not to refuse every time your office is requested. This is a one-way ticket for your best workers to accept an offer from a different company. What you need to do is find a way to keep everything organized and in working order even during employee vacations.
Organizing your team when everyone is on the same page and in the same room can be hard enough. However, we have full confidence in your ability to develop a vacation plan to keep your business running smoothly. Here are some tips that may help:
Use shared calendars
This first tip will come in handy all year round, not just for juggling employee holidays. It will be especially useful now, but a shared calendar will be a valuable tool throughout each season. This unique digital tool will not only upgrade your entire time management system. It will also enhance communication, transparency and teamwork with a single package.
With a shared company calendar, out-of-office days, meeting schedules, and team deadlines can all be accessed from one location. People going on holiday can easily check what deadlines they have to meet before boarding a plane. Those still in the office can check the holiday hours to know who to contact with any questions or comments they may have.
Another aspect of shared calendars that can be useful is scheduling links. These links may be shared with selected individuals who need access to your availability. Scheduling links may include time away from the office for your employees. This will prevent them from booking or contacting you while they are trying to enjoy some time off.
Create an out-of-office plan
Make sure everyone in your organization understands in advance what will be required of them while their co-workers are away. A few changes have to be made to fit the needs of the team when a member or two goes down. If you know in advance what needs to be done to run a boat smoothly, you are more likely to weather even the stormiest of seas.
An out-of-office plan is what we have in mind here. This is your “emergency glass breaker” plan for when employee vacations have your resources stretched thinr than you’d like. This will reorganize workflows around absent employees and ensure that the workload is evenly distributed among all remaining workers.
For example, let’s say one of your customer representatives is planning a well-deserved cruise this summer. Your out-of-office plan might be to split your client list equally among the rest of the team. During your trip, all of your customers will be properly attended to instead of being left alone until their representative returns.
Communication is essential for an organization. It becomes even more essential as team members come in and out of the office taking much-needed vacations. The better your communication methods are, 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 come in very handy in recent years is project management software. Most products have intuitive text channels for sharing messages, files, and other resources with your team. Even a vacationing employee can check into their hotel room briefly if they feel so inclined.
Text feeds, in particular, accomplish something that email threads can’t. An open text channel calls for ongoing conversation and dialogue. Email chains are quite cumbersome and information can easily be lost. Try some project management software and see how your communication changes with its implementation.
Prepare a summary of employees on vacation
Part of keeping your team running on all cylinders is ensuring employees returning from their travels don’t miss a step. You don’t want them dragging their feet for a whole week after you get home from a summer vacation. An effective way to bring them up to speed quickly is to prepare a summary for everyone when they return.
The summaries you compile should be concise but comprehensive. Write down everything you think an employee will need to know they’ve missed during their absence. For example, they could use bullet points from missed meetings. That way, any key information that goes through the organization still reaches them, even if they’ve lost the process.
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 get back in the chair. Even a little guidance can help those after the holidays get back on track sooner.
Plan around vacation days
An ideal scenario would be to process your employee’s time off requests before the summer starts. If you can achieve this, you can plan your projects and tasks around key absences. It may take some extra effort, but it will be worth it if everyone gets to enjoy their vacation without interruptions.
Let’s work out an example using an imaginary man named Kevin, who now heads your marketing department. Kevin’s kids will be out of school and want to visit Italy in two weeks. Your goal might be to craft and prepare your summer marketing campaign before it leaves. Because Venice is enjoying itself, the rest of the marketing team can be responsible for rolling out and maintaining this marketing plan.
You can make these types of adjustments across all of your departments. You can offer your sales reps a higher fee in the days leading up to their trip. You can even postpone a major project until the fall season to ensure all hands are on deck for optimal 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 seek.
You may have to pay top dollar for good help, but remember: it’s only temporary. Getting a fill-in for a few weeks will pay off in the long run when your full-time employees can take their time off without a problem. Employees tend to feel happier and more energized when their workplace cares about them in this way.
Seasonal help is also available 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 can extend to this time of year as well.
Take note of which methods make it easy to stay organized during a hectic summer. Keep them in your back pocket for next year and the year after. Every summer, you’ll improve to keep your business running smoothly while still taking care of your employees.
Featured image credit: Photo by Dziana Hasanbekava; pixels; Thanks!
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