One of the quiet battles small businesses have to fight during the holiday season is the struggle to distribute time off to their employees. If done poorly, you’ll come back in January wondering how you’re going to dig yourself out of a brand new hole. You might even hurt your brand. However, there are a few guidelines you can follow to make sure that you make as many people as possible happy, without alienating the rest. Here are six great ways to handle the holiday vacation juggle.
Offer Holiday Compensation
While money isn’t everything, it can certainly present a compelling argument when people are considering taking vacation time. Holiday compensation can keep people in the office when they would otherwise take time off. Not everyone values the holidays the same way. The good news is that this isn’t something you need to limit to the holidays. Offering vacation time pay differential for the right seasons can keep your company staffed and your employees happy.
Have a Way to Recruit Temps or Part-Timers
Chances are that the vast majority of your team will want to take some time off during the holidays. The good news is that with the right preparation, you can probably afford to give them the vacation days they want. All you need to do is make sure to have backup staff in the form or temps or part-timers who can take on their tasks. Make sure that they’re aware that you might be calling on them during the year’s end and that you can count on their performance.
Make Sure Your Team Knows When They Can’t Take Time Off
While few people like working during the holidays, it can feel a lot worse if they’re surprised with the news. If you’re blocking off certain days from vacation days, make sure everyone knows well in advance, and the earlier, the better. Not only does this keep people from being surprised and magnifying the negative feelings of said surprise, it’ll also allow employees to work around these periods when planning vacations and trips.
Stagger Vacation Slots
Keeping a full office at full potential over the holidays is impossible, but that doesn’t mean you need to shutter the company during those days. A good alternative is to simply make sure that you always have enough staff for the company to function at any given day. Staggering vacation slots can make that happen. While far from ideal, it will at least keep the company going and allow you to still serve your customers.
Allow for Special Remote Work
Remote workers are far from a new concept. Almost everyone has access to some form of device that allows them to work from home, and while your business may not allow for such at all times of the year, you can give employees that power over the holidays. Not everyone has vacation plans. Some simply want to spend time outside the office. Offering the opportunity to work from home, where appropriate, can alleviate some of the pressure on your company’s holiday vacation slots and allow for a smoother season.
Plan Everything Ahead of Time
If you want to be truly ready for the holidays, there’s nothing that will do your company more justice than a lot of planning. Most of it will be from management, but if possible, you should also make sure that your employees have agency. Allowing them to set vacation days far in advance, for example, sorts out a lot of problems. Each company is different, due to different staffing needs, so figure out how early you can let people set vacation dates.
The holidays are fun and can be extremely profitable for smart small businesses, if approached correctly. Do it right, and both your employees and your customers will be as happy as possible.