Everyone Is Taking Pto! Who Will Get The Work Done?

By: Lisa Cieslica

Executives to line employees all experience the pressure of meeting deadlines, completing tasks, attending meetings and having to function at 100% at all times. Time management is always crucial, and increasingly more so during the holiday season when so many are taking time off.

Human resource consultants and outsourcing firms are available to advise. There are many ways that employers can work toward filling the void to accommodate employee absences and still manage to meet day-to-day goals and job expectations all while maintaining an efficient work environment and achieving customer expectations.

Create and implement sound policies that require a specified amount time that employees must request off. Through your policies, let your employees know that management reserves the right to deny time off requests in order to meet business needs. Employers may also consider offering time off requests to be granted to more tenured employees when incidents arise from multiple employees requesting similar dates of absence. Policies should be considerate of employee's needs, but also support the business operation. Additionally, employers must follow their policies consistently to maintain equality. Most importantly, the policies need to be communicated to the workforce in order to ensure employees understand and abide by them.

Many employers use time off calendars that require employees to submit all time off requests in the beginning of the calendar year. This may be troublesome for employers who cannot always anticipate high profile priorities that tend to "pop" up unexpectedly. In which case, employers may find themselves buried in tasks while employees are away. The damage can be a domino effect and be felt by many, including clients.

A lot of employers find the end of year to be slow, in which case they may be able to close for additional days or generously approve time off requests. Other employers are at the opposite end of the spectrum, where the end of the calendar year brings important deadlines and project implementations for January 1st. When this is the situation, it is important to inform employees of deadlines and ensure that work is up to date. Managers may find much relief in scheduling a pre-time off meeting with employees to learn what tasks have been completed and what needs to be accomplished prior to the time off. It's advisable to schedule a meeting two weeks prior to time off to determine priorities, and follow up a few days prior to time off to account for any uncompleted projects that are a priority.

Surviving the season while maintaining the workload is not only possible, it can be done successfully if you plan ahead.

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