It’s that time of year; employees are getting prepared to jet off for their one or two weeks of sunshine. They may be all set to go on holiday, but are you and your business prepared for their absence?
Essentially, a staff shortfall means business owners must strike the delicate balance between demanding too much of other employees and bringing in costly, and sometime unnecessary, cover. Pushing the balance either way can often result in serious underperformance.
The key to a stress-free summer is to plan ahead. Consider which tasks are a priority during the period of absence and allocate them accordingly. For example, are there any deadlines that need to be met? Think about how busy you were this time last year. Could you have coped with being a staff-member down?
If you are giving other staff extra tasks, you should give them plenty of notice. If employees feel they are being inundated with jobs on top of their already-hectic work load, they could become resentful and consider a future elsewhere. To prevent this, talk to them in advance – either individually or call a group meeting – to make sure they are happy with this extra work.
You will also need to talk to the individuals who are taking holiday. Ask every employee to set up an appropriate e-mail auto-response and construct a comprehensive written handover before they go away. This should include all information regarding responsibilities and who needs to carry out specific tasks. You should encourage all staff members taking holiday to tie up as many loose ends as possible before they go.
If your staff member handles a lot of calls on a daily basis, consider booking a fully-trained telephone PA to answer the telephone and take messages. This temporary cover is an affordable and reliable way to give prospective clients a good perception of your business.
Lastly, remember that holidays are important for the wellbeing of your staff; they should come back feeling energised and relaxed, ready to deal with their daily tasks again. As a result, holidays should be positively encouraged.