Christmas time offSo we’re quickly approaching the festive season, and no doubt everything’s going well in your business. You’ve got robust plans in place, so you’re in the best possible position for maximising your profits for the end of the year, and you’re feeling pretty organised and in control. All of a sudden though, you’ve got a big issue on your hands.  Your staff want time off!!  Understandably, they want to enjoy the festivities but you hadn’t planned for this though.

What should you do if staff want time off, and how should you approach this challenge without landing yourself in a nightmare situation and being seen as Scrooge?

Before we get into anything else, let’s look at where you stand in the eyes of the law.  Fortunately this is pretty clear-cut. As an employer, you have the right to determine when your staff take their leave. You can decide that you won’t accept leave requests during busier periods, including Christmas, so you aren’t obliged to give your workers the time off that they want.

Still though, this doesn’t mean that you should announce that everyone’s presence is required, and accept no more comments or questions on the matter (that wouldn’t be very friendly now, would it). This approach will no doubt cause a great deal of unrest, and do you no favours in the long run.

In my experience the best course of action is to ensure that you’re being fair and consistent. If everyone is treated the same, then it’s more likely they’ll accept that you can’t necessarily accommodate all requests.

You may decide to let your staff decide between taking holiday over Christmas or New Year, but not both. If you can’t grant leave for everyone, then you might give those who missed out priority when it comes to booking in their dates for 2017. Be firm, but reasonable, and never forget your staff are simply human beings who also want to enjoy some time putting their feet up with their families.

And on a final note, you may want to consider offering your staff the option to work from home. If you can still meet your operational requirements, then this could prove to be a good compromise all round – a real festive winner (but appreciate it might not work for all).

By now, you probably recognise that your staffing problems over the Christmas period could have largely been avoided if you’d only done a little more planning, and anticipated these issues in advance.  What’s done is done, but take this as a wake-up call to get your ducks in a row for the year ahead.

Another way to make managing the leave process less onerous is to use an HR software system. We work with a great online HR system that offers staff self service holiday booking. Not only will you save time and money, but it’s also really easy to see whose already booked time off and whose going to be in the office.

If you want to speak with an expert about how to manage your HR planning and to find out more about the great HR software system we work with, then get in touch today. Let’s have an initial no-obligation chat about your circumstances, and see if we’re a good fit to work together.