Throughout the western world, Christmas creates a demand for annual leave like no other. With multiple public holidays and social expectations for visiting family and enjoying holiday activities, most staff will want some time off during the festive period. Balancing competing demands for leave and the needs of the business becomes a daily struggle.
As if increased demand for leave didn’t make the run-up to Christmas tough enough, for many businesses, especially in retail or hospitality, December is the busiest month. Many of these firms find that they need to take on temporary staff to meet demand, meaning a lot of calculations of pro-rata holiday entitlement need to be performed.
So how do you navigate the complex world of annual leave over the holidays, so that you can relax and enjoy the festivities, without worrying about your business? Here are our top four tips.
Work out what approach your business needs
Work out well in advance how your business will operate through the holiday period. Some businesses need to work at full capacity every day of the year, others will shut down completely before Christmas and stay closed until the new year. Still, other companies operate a skeleton staff, while some will even need to boost their staffing levels to cope with added trade.
Communicate with your team
Whichever approach your business takes, make sure to spread the word. If you operate a Christmas closedown, then staff will typically need to choose between paid and unpaid leave. To help them make the decision, try providing each of them with an update on how much holiday entitlement they have left (for LeaveWizard customers this can be set up automatically). If you need your business to work through the holiday season then staff will need to know this in plenty of time to make plans, and apply for a holiday in the normal way if your policy will allow it.
Let your customers know what you’ll be doing
Whether it’s “business as usual” or “see you in the new year”, make sure your customers aren’t left in the lurch. If you have a regular client list, why not send them a Christmas card or e-card, including your holiday opening times? For retail businesses make sure that your plans are posted clearly in a customer area so that shoppers can plan. Whether clients need to plan ahead, or you’ll be the only shop open at 11 pm on Christmas Eve, if they don’t know, they can’t find you.
Relax and enjoy the season, without worrying about your business
Whether your experience of Christmas will be time off with family and friends or working to make it profitable for your company, you shouldn’t need to worry about staffing levels and annual leave management. For many managers though there will be lingering doubts, especially in the run-up to the festivities. Will the rules you’ve put in place be followed so that there is enough staff working? Have employees’ choices for paid or unpaid leave been recorded, so that everyone will be paid correctly?
LeaveWizard’s intuitive online annual leave management software puts you in control of your staff holiday throughout the year. Customisable rule sets and teams allow you to decide and enforce leave policies, both year-round and for special periods like Christmas. Our mobile and desktop apps mean that holiday applications and approvals can be made flexibly, and even on the go, automated reports mean that you can rest assured that staffing levels and leave management are under control.
You can check out these and other features that LeaveWizard offers to make annual leave management here. When you’re ready to find out for yourself how much easier holiday administration can be, we’ll even give you a free no-obligation trial.