Summer is just around the corner, and we’re all looking forward to our warm weather plans. That includes your employees. Employees are likely planning their vacations, which also means that you’re going to be juggling those requests. It can be a tough time for employers are soon as the weather gets warm. Everyone is scrambling to get the time off they want, and they may also want to take more long weekends or leave work early.
It can be somewhat of a disaster for a business that’s not organized and prepared to handle employee time off during the summer.
Implement An Attendance Management System
Before you do anything else, it’s probably time to use an attendance management system. An attendance management system, also often called a leave tracker, is going to make your job or the job of your human resources department much easier.
When you’re choosing a leave management system or vacation tracker, consider one with the following features:
- You want your leave tracker to be self-service for employees. Whether you’re a business owner, a manager or you’re in charge of dealing with employee attendance, the last thing you want is everyone dropping their vacation requests written on a sticky note onto your desk. You really have no way of determining who was first, and a lot can get lost if you’re handling things this way. Instead, with a leave tracker employees can log directly into the system, submit their requests, and they’re ordered and organized automatically. Then, you can create rules for approving them. This is good not only from an administrative perspective but also regarding employee satisfaction.
- A vacation tracker is going to not only reduce expensive errors, but you can also login to see any relevant trends. For example, is one employee taking advantage of their time off? You can also code absences and time off based on things like whether it’s paid or unpaid.
- Look for a vacation tracker with mobile capabilities. If you’re using a leave tracker that’s self-serve for employees, you also want it to work on their mobile devices.
Even with a leave tracker, you need to clearly let your employees know what the process is for requesting time off. Tell them not only how to do it, but what goes into deciding whether that gets approved or not. For example, some companies will base approvals simply on who got them in soonest, while others will base it on seniority.
Reinforce Vacation Policies
You should already have vacation and time-off policies in place, and before the summer even gets started, it can be a good time to reinforce those in case anyone has forgotten. You should send out a blast email or hold a meeting, depending on the size of your organization. Let everyone know that even though the weather might be warming up, they’re still required to adhere to existing leave and vacation policies.
This is a good time to ensure your employees remember that as an employer you have the right to make them change their vacation schedules if work demands are requiring it. Of course, you shouldn’t try to restrict employees from certain vacation times just because, but if there’s a legitimate reason to do so, that needs to be something employees are aware of.
If you would rather take a positive reinforcement approach, you can offer bonuses or other perks to employees willing to work during prime summer vacation time.
Setting your expectations in advance of summer is important. You need to let them know what you expect and don’t expect, so there is no confusion or misconceptions.
Could You Offer the Summer Friday Perk?
It’s tough to keep employees engaged and motivated, particularly during the summer. Things can seem more relaxed, and you may not be getting the level of productivity out of your employees that you’d like to see.
One way some companies are combatting this is by offering what’s dubbed “Summer Fridays.” This refers to a scenario where employers are letting employees take a half-day of work on Fridays during the summer. Even just a Summer Friday offered once a month can go a long way toward boosting morale, and it can be inexpensive for most companies.
Of course, it’s not something will work for everyone—for example, if you’re operating a restaurant or retailer store, Summer Fridays probably aren’t going to work. If it would work in your business, however, it’s something worth trying. It’s a good way to boost the motivation and sense of happiness of your employees even as the weather warms up and their minds might otherwise be elsewhere.
If you’re worried about productivity taking a hit, you could let your employees work longer days four days a week in summer, in order to get a paid half-day on Fridays.
It’s not uncommon to change your hours in the summer, and around 30% of employers say they offer different summer hours for employees to take advantage of.
If you want to ensure your employees get vacation time during the summer, you could consider having a summer intern program. This can allow for you to address productivity gaps that might happen during prime vacation months, and to do so in an inexpensive way.
You can also think about bringing in some part-time seasonal employees who could do certain jobs and make sure your business stays on track, even as people might be out of town more often than normal.
Finally, above all else, make sure you stay organized. If you use a leave tracker or vacation tracker, it’s going to do the work for you. When you’re organized, you don’t have to worry about work not getting done because of overlapping vacation schedules. With a good leave tracker, you can look at graphs and charts to ensure you’re going to have the necessary coverage.
It’s good to balance some flexibility and a sense of freedom for your employees with a sense of organization and well-outlined policies during the summer, to keep everyone on track and your business moving along productively.