While the summer holidays can be a time of great relaxation and rejuvenation for many, they can often be a challenging period for employers. Annual leave can raise difficulties such as lower staff numbers and diminished productivity, both issues which can be magnified if multiple staff members are on annual leave on the same or narrowly overlapping dates. However, at Accentuate HR, we believe that the difficult aspects of managing employee annual leave can be mitigated if a few of the below tips are implemented.
Firstly, regardless of the size of your organization, company owners should ensure that they have developed a detailed holiday policy for their employees. By introducing a comprehensive policy and procedure on annual leave, business owners can guarantee that their company approaches annual leave in a consistent manner, ensuring that employees are treat fairly and transparently. Accentuate HR can advise businesses on how to tailor their holiday policy to find a solution that fits their needs.
A major concern of employers during the summer period is the fear of being chronically understaffed. With summer being the most popular time to take a break from work, this period can often be challenging, especially for small to medium-sized businesses. However, it is possible to mitigate the effects of periodically lower staff numbers. One of the easiest ways to do so is to implement holiday handover meetings, where remaining employees can be briefed on the leavers currently outstanding work and continue to drive it forward where appropriate. Things such as the current status of work, deadlines and where to find important documents should be the foundations of an effective holiday handover meeting.
In addition to handover notes, employers should also consider only allowing a certain number of employees to take annual leave simultaneously in order to ensure that a sufficient level of staff presence is maintained throughout the year. With almost all workers in the UK being legally entitled to 5.6 weeks of paid holiday a year, it is important that appropriate staff levels are maintained on a consistent basis so companies can service their clients at the same capacity throughout the year.1
Furthermore, for companies that are small, or which may work in an industry that is highly seasonal, an annual leave blackout period could be created so that staff cannot take time off during the businesses busiest time of year.
However, despite the issues that short staffing due to annual leave can bring, it is important that business owners recognize the many benefits that time away from the office can bring to their employees. Taking time off can help employees rest and protect their mental health and on return be more motivated and energetic in their work2. A good employer should encourage staff members to take regular periodical breaks throughout the year, in order to alleviate stress as well as to maintain performance and a work-life balance. Additionally, reminding employees of their remaining holiday balance is another gentle way to encourage workers to take regular breaks, in order to boost their productivity and mental health.
Adopting a strategy to effectively manage annual leave in the workplace is not always simple, but it can greatly benefit your company.
For further information on how to best manage employee annual leave please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0) 7702 864227.