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Everybody wants to book time off at the same time – what do I do?

By 03/06/2016 March 17th, 2021 Employee Management
Time Off Management

As the summer seasons approach us, the scramble for booking time off becomes more and more intense. John’s family escape to the Centre Parcs happens to clash with Lisa’s holiday in Ibiza. Not only can this be an HR nightmare in terms of admin but issues with time off can also lead to bad morale in your team.

So here are a few tips on how to balance time off requests this summer.

Give precedence to those who have sent their requests in advance. However, there are some times where a first-come-first-serve basis does become unfair. For holidays around the Christmas and new year period, we’ve found that members of staff will send their requests as early as June to beat the crowd.

If you find that there is high competition for a certain holiday, particularly Christmas, sometimes the fairest way is to pull names out of a hat. As unscientific and random as it seems, it sometimes is the fairest way and shows no signs of bias.

Have a limit to the number of days off they can book at once; for example, many companies feel that a holiday or vacation that lasts over 10 working days (two weeks) is the maximum to have at once. Of course, there can be exceptions to this, especially when it comes to weddings and honeymoons.

Another common mistake is not making it completely clear if their allowance can be carried over from year to year. This discussion can get very heated and volatile when it is not clarified properly.

In your time off manager software, you can set any bookings as public and for everyone to see. This gives staff a very early indicator of times where their request will probably not be approved and so they can change their plans accordingly.

Also, remember to establish policy early on so there is no misunderstandings. If you do not want staff carrying their holiday over to the next year, you should probably establish a deadline for when all requests should be completed. For example, if all allowance is reset on January 1st, have the deadline to book any holidays as October 1st. This can help avoid any last-minute rushes at the end of the year.

It’s harsh but there may be emergencies where you’re going to be forced to reschedule holidays and vacations. You need to set out your company’s right to do this from the beginning.

Our time off manager has saved HR departments many headaches as it is efficient and easy to use. If you’d like to take a look and book a demo with one of our experts, click below.

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About Natural HR

Natural HR is a cloud-based HR software company for growing businesses with 100+ employees. Since launching in 2010, we’ve been building a comprehensive suite of HR functionality that equips the small to medium-sized enterprise with everything needed to build an effective and efficient HR operation.