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Holiday season 2013: How to plan for staff absences

POSTED: 20th June 2013
IN: Guides
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With summer fast approaching, a serious concern for a business is how to plan for staff absences over the holiday season.

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If you have an HR department, it is likely to manage a holiday planner and this should be the main reference for planning to ensure you have adequate cover for all parts of the business.

You can divide the planner up into the relevant departments that make up your business so that you can see clearly how resources are affected in each department.

If you run a small company and this work is performed by the company secretary or even the owner, the same rules apply. Set up a holiday planner and compare it to expected volumes of business over the summer on a weekly basis and work out how many staff you need in each department to cover the business’ needs.

Is your business seasonal?

If you run a business where inflows of work are variable and increase or fall depending on the time of year, then it is especially important to plan carefully so that peak times of the year are fully covered so you do not lose out on any business.

Match expected business levels with staff resources to ensure you are fully covered and consider imposing a rule on staff taking holidays over the busy periods.

Staff requirements

Work out how many staff are needed to cover each job that you have booked up. Review resources and levels of business over the same period last year to identify potential problems and to get a good idea of what business is likely to come in that you do not know about yet.

Once this analysis has been produced, work out how many employees you need to cover all periods over the summer.

Check that each part of the business is covered, A peak period may be more busy for one part of the business than another so you may not need to impose rules on taking holiday in place for all parts of the business.

Planning for annual leave

In addition to placing limits on the amount of leave that certain departments can take during an anticipated busy period, you can talk to staff and agree with them that each member is only allowed a certain number of days of leave and that there must be a certain number of employees available at any one time to match the business needs.

You can also add a rule so that all leave must be booked a certain length of time in advance so that the holiday planner is always up to date and the management can see in advance resources available at any given time.

Buddy system

For employees in the same department or key employees who do similar jobs you could introduce a ‘buddy’ system whereby when one individual is on leave, the other can’t be and can cover each other.

This will ensure that key areas of expertise are always covered.

Annual leave plan

Create a document that puts your strategy for annual leave and covering the business needs at peak times in place and distribute this to all staff for reference.

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