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Are you ready for the summer holiday season?

Summer holidays are fast approaching. But are you ready for the potential last-minute holiday requests? We give you some helpful tips on how to handle them.

First published on Thursday, Aug 13, 2020

Last updated on Monday, Jun 12, 2023

4 min read

Summer holidays are upon us and whilst many employees booked time off months in advance, plenty of staff will be trying to book a last minute holiday. This could be due to a number of factors; just looking to take a break, last minute deals, or even to book time off to spend time with the kids. Whatever the reason, small businesses need to be ready to respond to these requests.

But how do you do it?

Plan ahead

The best way to deal with any problems is to plan ahead and anticipate the issues before they even arise. What happened last year? What's the worst case scenario? What do you do if two people ask for the same time off? By looking at what has happened previously and anticipating other issues you can start to put plans in place to deal with them before they come up.

Put your policy in place

Having a policy is key. How much notice do employees have to give you when booking time off? What will be the procedure if you need to decide who gets time off? Are there any times of year where holiday approval is limited? Having a policy means everyone is aware of the rules and it can help you be consistent and fair if things do go wrong.

Managing multiple holiday requests

When it comes to managing requests, it's important to set out how these will be approved. For many this is a first come, first served basis. But there are others ways: rota systems, team delegation, preference to longest-serving employees. There are plenty of options but whichever one you choose, you need to stick to it.

Be flexible with working arrangements

Childcare can become an issue during the summer holidays and many parents dread this time of year as they have to juggle work commitments with changing childcare arrangements. Offering a degree of flexibility could be key for your employees, enabling workers to start late or finish early to meet these needs. This degree of flexibility is down to you and the type of business you have. Some businesses may be able to offer full flexibility, allowing workers to work remotely at home, whereas others may be able to offer flexible start and finishing times; others may not be able to offer any degree of flexibility at all. If you can be flexible, it’s worthwhile for both your employees and your business.

Refusing holiday requests

If you can, it’s always best to approve holiday requests. However, there may come a time when you have to decline one. This may be due to holiday conflicts, the request coming at a busy operational time or because of the length of the request. It’s down to what’s best for your business and following the correct procedures to reduce any negative outcomes, such as giving as much notice of a rejection as the amount of leave requested, for example, two weeks’ notice if the leave requested was two weeks.

Communicate with staff

Whatever you do it’s important you communicate with your staff. This way staff are made fully aware of any existing policies in regards to booking time off, any flexible working arrangements can be clearly outlined and you can outline your position on refusing requests. This way everyone is clear in terms of expectations and there can be no complaints when it comes to potentially refusing requests.

Automate the process

The holiday request process can take up valuable time and effort, and can prevent you from getting on with the important task of growing your business. But it doesn’t have to be this way. With BrightHR’s brilliant people management software the HR admin around the holiday booking process is automated and can save you valuable time.

With our software employees can book holidays from the mobile app whenever, wherever. Managers can instantly check for any conflicts and approve requests in a matter of seconds. No more time-consuming paper forms or spreadsheets, no more hassle.

Sign up for your free demo today and see how BrightHR can make your businesses holiday approval process simple.

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