Year over year, employees are earning—and taking—more and more time off, much of that during the prime summer vacation months. With more people stepping out of the office from May through September than ever before, how do you ensure that you’re still meeting your goals in spite of the summer PTO rush? We have a few quick tips to help you keep your business humming all season long.
Above all, it’s important to have a clear and easy-to-manage PTO system, whether you opt for paper or a program to approve and log employee time off. Also make sure that your policies are communicated clearly to employees. How long in advance should people request summer PTO—days, weeks, months? How do team members and admins know when requests are submitted and approved? How are employee PTO limits updated? Nothing will frustrate you and your team more during this vacation period than having to chase people down to know who’s taking time off when.
While HR has a bird’s-eye view on who’s taking time off as a whole, it’s just as important for individual managers to have the necessary tools and visibility to ensure that they have adequate coverage while team members are taking summer PTO. Any system that centralizes time off requests for admins, managers and employees will be far favorable to scattered spreadsheets, and asking that managers filter their team’s requests lessens the burden on HR to double-check that Is are dotted and Ts are crossed.
From Memorial Day through Labor Day, it can help productivity to relax office policies for those not taking summer PTO. Bring in breakfasts and treat teams to group lunches. Many teams organize summer offsites or company events like picnics and potlucks during this time, too. HR and company leadership can implement flexible summer Fridays to give employees something extra to work towards during the rest of the week, whether it means leaving after lunch a few Fridays during the summer or completely cutting out a couple. An added benefit to company-created long weekends? You can guide when employees schedule days off by offering free days that don’t eat into PTO limits.
When you’re working with teams that must clock hours rather than measure progress in projects, time off can get a bit stickier. If you don’t already have a strong time tracking program in place, implementing one will save you tremendous scheduling stress. Encourage employees to sort out scheduling patches themselves first so that everyone can have maximum vacation time with friends and family. Building a robust flexible work policy will help you attract and maintain top talent, too.
If need be, managers should set clear expectations around project-based work and make sure that employees leave behind specific instructions for teammates doing fill-in work, with all necessary files and contacts to meet deadlines. Have teammates working from home? Ensure you have the proper infrastructure to handle remote working, like video conference tools, and give team members the proper permissions and access to use these programs.