For those of you who manage people and their time off, you might find it hard to work out what to do to ensure that there is adequate cover over the December holiday season while still making sure your employees are receiving their fair holiday entitlement. This can be especially prevalent for those working in tourism as the festival season is a busy time for the industry as pretty much everyone, not just your staff, wants to take time off. Below are a few tips by specialist temporary recruitment company, Office Team (part of Robert Half International) to help you keep organised.

1) Before a flood of time off requests come your way, it’s important to think about how you will determine whether or not time off will be granted. Will the decision be based on a first come first served basis, or be driven by scheduling needs? Having established a list of criteria will ensure you are consistent in granting fair time off during the holidays and avoid you looking like the office Grinch!

2) It is important to clearly communicate your time-off policy so employees know what procedure they need to follow when requesting it. For example, it is vital to communicate how much notice your employees need to give and the ways they go about it. Do they have to email you directly or simply fill in holiday request form? You can even hold brief meetings with seasonal snacks to ensure full understanding of the policies requirements!

3) You must ensure back-ups are in place to cover the tasks of your employees taking time off, and that you always have a Plan B. If you can’t meet these needs internally, you might want to consider hiring temporary or part-time employees to meet the shortfall of staff during the holiday season.

4) Think about offering alternative work schedules during the holiday season. Compressed working weeks or flexi-time enables your employees to continue working the same number of hours per week whilst allowing them to meet their Christmas social obligations! Another option is allowing employees to work from home as long as they have the right equipment and resources available to make this feasible.

5) If your staff members are fighting for holiday requests, consider providing incentives to take time off during less desirable times of the year. For instance, you can allow employees to take an extra day or two if they wait until busy times have subsided. Alternatively, one of the simplest ways to keep your employees in the office this time of year is by creating a festive and fun atmosphere. You can liven up office life with decorations, a secret Santa scheme and some festive music.