Have you ever had that sinking feeling in your stomach, where you suddenly realise you’ve approved too many staff holidays for the same day or week? Holiday management can be a tricky ball game, but you don’t need to find yourself struggling to call in extra staff in at the last minute. All you need is a little bit of visible team planning.
There’s lots you can do to avoid holiday management disaster. For example, it helps to have a clear holiday policy from the get-go, to make sure employees give you plenty of advance notice. It also helps to encourage your team members to take regular holidays throughout the year – this saves you from a mad rush where everybody tries to take their remaining holidays at once.
But perhaps the easiest way to avoid holiday management disaster, is by having a central team planner.
How a central team planner can help you avoid disaster
A central team planner is a single team calendar that keeps a record of all holiday dates and requests for each member of your team. There are lots of ways to do run a central team planner, from using a traditional paper-based calendar you can stick to your wall, to building a neat little spreadsheet or even subscribing to a browser-based HR system.
By recording holiday dates in one central team planner, you will avoid authorising too many holiday requests for the same day or week. Where most managers fail, is by authorising holiday dates without checking what the rest of the team is doing. Get into a habit of recording all approved holidays in your central team planner, and then cross-checking every time a new request arrives.
This might sound like a small and simple step, but it will seriously improve your holiday management skills.
Go the extra mile with a digital team planner
If you manage a large team, your best option is a dedicated team planner. This is often included as a feature within an HR system, and is much easier than using paper-based calendars or spreadsheets.
Paper-based calendars don’t give you enough space to effectively record multiple holiday dates if you’re managing a large team. Spreadsheets can be fiddly to edit, and confusing to look at.
A digital team planner will normally give you a clear view of planned absence, and let you cross-check holiday requests automatically with existing approved holiday dates. Some will even give you insights into common sick days, and let you lock certain dates against holiday requests.
Share your story
Have you ever had a nightmare at work because you accidentally authorised too many holiday requests on the same day? If so, tell us about it in the comments below. Remember to tell us what you learned from your experience, and how you changed your approach as a result. Did you learn from your mistakes, or do the same thing again?