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5 Ways to Handle Employee Time Off During the Holidays

For business owners, the holiday season can be one of the busiest times of the year. In addition to holiday shopping, seasonal sales and winding down for year-end, business owners have the added task of managing their employee’s time-off during the holiday season.

While it’s important to encourage and permit employees some much-needed downtime, every business owner also knows that service and staffing disruption can be detrimental to the business.

Here are some tips to help you manage holiday schedules and prevent any disruption to your small business.

Institute policies and procedures

Developing proper policies and procedures for managing holiday time-off is one of the best ways to ensure that equal treatment is shown to all and a clear course of action is outlined to help sort through requests.

This is where you would include pertinent information surrounding deadlines to make vacation requests, holiday black-out periods and submission processes.

Your policies should take into consideration: what rules apply to new employees and long-standing staff, how many consecutive days are taken, and the process and timeline for making vacation requests; whether it’s based on seniority or a first-come, first-served basis.

Bring in the seasonal staff

If you operate a business that picks up on a seasonal basis, or you know your employees spend most of their year saving up vacation to use in December, bringing in temporary, part time staff is one of the fastest ways business owners can manage through the season.

It’s a good idea to keep in contact with these part-timers year-round so you know their availability ahead of time.

Offer a holiday pay differential

With holiday shopping and gift-giving in full effect, offering a holiday pay differential to your employees can be a much-needed benefit to them and help to keep your business staffed.

It’s best to include this as part of the company’s structure or bonus pay-period and not just something to entice employees to stay clocked-in.

Let employees work remotely

These days, working remotely is made possible with a laptop, cellphone and working Wi-Fi connection. If your business model supports it, allowing your employees to work remotely during the holiday season can be great for morale and productivity.

Your staff will appreciate the flexibility to do things like run out for last-minute holiday shopping, prepare for hosting events on off-hours and minimize commuting time.

Allow employees to carryover their vacation days

A lot of employees oftentimes save up their vacation to be used during the holiday season. If you offer more than the legally required two weeks of vacation, you may have a “use it or lose it” policy for the extra weeks.

An easy solution to incentivizing employees to stay-in-office during the holidays is to allow them to carryover their unused vacation into the next year.

Keeping your small business staffed during the holidays can be a difficult balancing act for business owners.

Encouraging employees to take time-off during the holidays and spend time with loved ones is an important consideration and can be great for boosting productivity and motivation.

And remember: the holidays mark a time for demonstrating gratitude and appreciation, especially for any employees who are willing to work during the holidays, weekends or any other peak times that are in high-demand for time-off requests.