Summer is a busy time for most businesses. Longer days and warmer weather mean your clients are likely more active than ever, and you’re probably eager to take advantage of the rush. While your chief concern is dealing with the summer crunch, your employees are dreaming of another crunch: Sand between their toes. The summer vacation is part of most people’s year-long dream, and your team has probably started asking for time off already. How can you strike a balance between productivity and flexibility?
Allowing employees to take time off in the summer is good for business
There’s no doubt letting employees take an occasional vacation is good for productivity, and the increasing number of companies offering unlimited vacation time is testament to the value of taking time off. While that level of flexibility may not fit into your business model, vacation leave is still an integral part of every company’s compensation package. Regardless, scheduling time off among a large team can be complicated if you are not prepared.
· Have clear policies regarding vacation time.
Employees must know their rights regarding how and when they can request vacation time. If your policies are clearly stated and easily accessible, there will be fewer disputes when vacation season rolls around.
· Encourage communication among your employees.
Though there are certain times of year (and even specific dates) that are vacation hot spots, you can’t have your entire staff out at once. To avoid overlap, implement a strategy that makes employees aware of each other’s plans. For example, many businesses have a shared calendar where employees mark off their planned travel dates. If you are unable to grant vacation time because too many employees are away on a certain date, you will have a reference to prove you are offering fair treatment.
· Consider “Summer Fridays” and other seasonal perks.
Let’s face it: You never get top performance out of your team on a Friday afternoon. Add the summer daydreams that come along as they start pondering their weekend plans, and it’s not impossible that the entire afternoon could be a write-off. If possible, why not give your team the option of taking a half-day from time to time? You will lose little productivity, and having a few long weekends might prevent some from taking extended vacations (which will have a larger impact on your business).
· Offer (and demand) flexibility on both sides.
Every business relationship is give and take. If you’re offering more to your team during the summer season, it’s not unfair to ask them to pick up the slack in some way. For example, more vacation time can come with the expectation that some employees will then work extra to cover the vacations of their co-workers. When such issues are tackled upfront, a reasonable solution can be reached.
· Plan your staffing strategy ahead of time.
Between all the balancing and juggling acts it requires to meet your summer staffing needs, it’s best to settle on the simplest solution possible. Hiring temporary workers to fill seasonal gaps is often the easiest and most cost-effective solution to a complex problem. Though it’s best to review your staffing strategy several months ahead, unexpected short-term needs can generally be met by a qualified staffing agency.
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