The arrival of summer likely has most of your employees thinking about vacation and long weekends at the cottage. You may feel less enthusiastic as requests for time off pile up in your inbox. How will you manage to keep the office functioning with everyone taking time off?
Summer is a challenging season for the HR department as you try to balance everyone’s requested time off with the work that still needs to be completed. If you’re facing a difficult balancing act, here are a few strategies you can use to make summer less stressful for everyone.
1. Schedule Projects Accordingly
Although the pace of work sometimes slows in the summer, there’s little doubt you still have some big projects on the go. If this is the case, take a look at the project schedule and compare it to people’s vacation requests. Is a key person going to be away when their expertise is most needed?
A good example might be hiring. If your interviewer is away for two weeks at the end of July, try to start the hiring process a little earlier or later to compensate. Similarly, schedule onboarding and training at times when people will be around to help the new employee.
This is often easier if you stagger vacations. Projects can keep moving even as key people take their vacations as different stages are completed at different times by the people who are available.
2. Stagger Away Time
It’s almost inevitable a few requests will pile up on particular weeks. The most popular time for vacation is often the last two weeks of July. Several employees may want to extend the Canada Day long weekend. Parents may want the last two weeks of August in order to get their children ready for back-to-school.
If it’s at all possible, work with your team to stagger their vacation time. If you can, ensure key people aren’t taking vacations at the same time. You can also try to sync the vacations of people who are working on particular parts of projects. If the project will be with another team for a week or two, it’s the perfect time for these people to take vacation.
This can help you plan your workflows accordingly, moving projects from team to team. People will still get their hard-earned vacation time, and projects will keep moving.
3. Use an HRIS
A human resource information system (HRIS) is an important piece of technology for any HR department to have on hand. If you’re not already using one, it might be time to consider upgrading. An HRIS can help you simplify processes like leave management.
The HRIS offers many advantages for businesses, and leave management is one of the many tasks it can assist you with. The HRIS makes it easier to see who is taking time off when and who has what time left to take.
In short, the HRIS makes it easier to plan for vacations. Using this tool will help you automate and track leaves and schedule around projects. It can even help you see who might be available to cover for someone else.
4. Hire Summer Help
Hiring some summer help may take the burden off those employees who are left. A seasonal employee can help with smaller tasks, freeing up your key people to work on projects and keep them moving while others are away.
If you’ve been wondering how to keep projects moving while people are away, take a look at some of these strategies.