Summer is a much anticipated season for many reasons. For your workforce, this is the time to take a vacation. Your hard-working employees deserve to take some time off. However, your business still needs to keep its operations running.
The solution isn’t to deny every time off request to your office. That’s a one-way ticket for your best workers to take an offer from a different company. What you need to do instead is figure out a way to keep everything organized and in working condition even during an employee vacation.
Organizing your team when they’re all on the same page and in the same room can be challenging 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 can help you out:
Utilize Shared Calendars
This first tip will be handy all year round, not just while juggling employee vacations. It will be especially helpful now, but a shared calendar will be a valuable tool during every season. This single digital tool won’t just upgrade your entire time management system. It will also boost communication, transparency, and teamwork with a single package.
With a shared company calendar, out-of-office days, meeting plans, and team deadlines can all be accessed at a single location. People leaving on vacation can easily check which deadlines they must meet before jumping on a plane. Those who still remain at the office can check vacation schedules so they know who to reach out to with any questions or comments they have.
Another aspect of shared calendars that might come in handy is scheduling links. These links can be shared with select people who need access to your availability. Scheduling links can include out-of-office time for your employees. This will prevent them from getting booked or contacted while trying to enjoy some time off.
Create an Out-of-Office Plan
Ensure that everyone in your organization understands beforehand what is needed of them while their coworkers are out. A few changes must be made to accommodate the team’s needs when they’re down a member or two. If you know in advance what should be done to run a smooth ship, you’re more likely to overcome even the stormiest of seas.
An out-of-office plan is what we have in mind here. This is your “break glass in case of emergency” plan for when employee vacations have your resources stretched thinner than you’d like. This will rearrange workflows around absent employees and ensure the workload is distributed evenly to all remaining workers.
For example, let’s say one of your customer representatives plans a well-deserved cruise this summer. Your out-of-office plan can be to divide their client list equally among the rest of the team. During their trip, all of their clientele will be properly cared for instead of left alone until their representative returns.
Tighten Up Communication
Communication is essential for an organization. It becomes even more essential as team members are 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 jumping in and out of the office.
One method of communication that has really come in handy in recent years is through project management software. Most products have intuitive text channels for sharing messages, files, and other resources to your team. Even a vacationing employee can check in briefly in their hotel room should they feel so inclined.
Text channels in particular, accomplish something that email chains cannot. An open text channel prompts continuous conversation and dialogue. Email chains are rather cumbersome, and information can be easily lost. Try some project management software and see how your communication changes with its implementation.
Compile a Summary of Vacationing Employees
Part of keeping your team running on all cylinders is ensuring employees returning from their trips don’t lose a step. You don’t want them dragging their feet for another full week after returning home from a summer vacation. An effective way to get them up to speed quickly is to prepare a summary for everyone upon their return.
The summaries you compile should be concise yet thorough. Write down anything you think an employee will need to know they missed during their absence. For example, they could use the bullet points from any missed meetings. This way, any key information passed through the organization still gets to them, even if they missed the formality.
Another compilation you can assemble is a to-do list for each employee to complete upon their 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 into gear sooner.
Plan Around Vacation Days
An ideal scenario would be to get your employee’s time off requests processed before summer begins. If you can accomplish this, you can plan your projects and assignments around key absences. Some extra effort may be required, but it will be worth it if everyone gets to enjoy their vacations uninterrupted.
Let’s draw up 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 could be to draw up and prepare your summer marketing campaign before he leaves. As he enjoys Venice, the rest of the marketing team can take care of unrolling and maintaining said marketing plan.
You can make these types of adjustments in all of your departments. You can give your sales representatives a higher quota in the days leading up to their trip. You can even put off a major project until the fall season to ensure that all hands are on deck for optimal quality.
Hire Temporary Assistance
When all else fails, you can always try your hand at hiring some temporary help. Seasonal employees will sometimes jump at job opportunities when the demand is high. They are rewarded with more than fair wages and the extra hours 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 out in the long term 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 such a way.
Seasonal help also picks up 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 also extend to this time of year.
Take notes of which methods make it easier to stay organized during a hectic summer. Keep these in your back pocket for the next year, and the year after that. Every summer, you’ll get better and better at keeping your company running smoothly while still taking care of your employees.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Dziana Hasanbekava; Pexels; Thank you!