Friday, December 21, 2012

Managing Vacation Time

Should managers be authorized to allocate vacation time? As the holiday season nears, many employees plan their days off during year's end. This may go over well with some members, but upset others. Depending on the workload, some companies can manage with half their workforce out on vacation. Deadlines can be extended or work can be delegated to fellow employees. Problems arise though, when there is a high volume of business that must be accomplished within a certain time frame. In this scenario, deadlines can't be extended and asking others to take on more work may make for an unhappy work environment.

Restrictions can be implemented to manage vacation time, but that can be unfair to those who have to plan with family members. We can't control when special ceremonies will be held, for instance. Preventing workers from attending such events because they fall during a restricted period will encourage resentment and affect productivity. If several events are held during the same time frame, managers will be put in an awkward position to favor one employee over another. Either way, it appears to be a lose-lose situation.

To avoid these issues, managers must learn to effectively communicate scheduling with their employees. Resentment happens when workers come in one morning to an empty department. Maybe they wanted a certain time off but reconsidered because it was during peak season. It doesn't seem right that others lacked the same consideration, especially if upcoming deadlines has them losing sleep. Walking in to find most of your coworkers gone only exacerbates their agitation.

Another solution would be to allocate a whiteboard and hang it in plain sight for scheduling. Once management authorizes vacation time, it should be written into the calendar. This will allow workers to collaborate and plan wisely, while remaining considerate to one another.

You can't make everyone happy, but if employees perceive managers as being fair, it encourages cooperation. Who knows, those who stay behind may offer to take on a bigger workload.

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