Once the weather turns warm, school age children begin turning their thoughts to what they look forward to all year long: summer vacations. So do their parents. This makes the summer months one of the most popular times of year for employees to request time off work.

It also has the potential to be a stressful time for your business because you have just as much work to do but fewer people to do it. Preparing for staff summer vacations now is the best way to avoid last-minute stress.

Scheduling Staff Summer Vacations

If you’re lucky, your employees think far in advance about their summer vacation plans and submit their vacation requests to you months early. Often, things don’t happen this way. Instead, people like to make plans at the last minute and hope everyone else is willing to accommodate them.

To ensure you don’t have a bunch of people trying to take their vacations at the same time, a vacation policy will do wonders for your scheduling. If you already have one, excellent. If not, popular vacation policy guidelines may include:

  • Approval in order of seniority
  • First come, first serve
  • No vacation approvals with less than 30 days’ prior notice

When you’ve never had a policy in place for approving vacation requests, it can seem harsh the first time you must deny a request. From their point of view, it may well be, but you have a company to keep running, no matter what time of year it is.

Working Around Staff Summer Vacations

Once you know when everyone will take summer vacations, your first order of business is to put everyone’s time off onto a calendar see what you’re dealing with. This is useful not only from an organizational standpoint, but also helps you see where any vacations overlap. If the overlap is too severe, you may have to ask people to rearrange their plans or hire temporary help.

If you work in a retail environment where customers see you in person, summer vacations can be especially problematic. For instance, if your vacation calendar tells you that only two people are able to work on a particular day and it takes two people on the premises at all time to work with customers, you’ll need to make creative arrangements for the day. One solution may involve ordering in lunch for the employees to compensate them for not being able to leave as they usually would.

Now is also a good time to rethink your usual schedule. While it may work well the rest of the year for people to work set hours and days, it can be necessary to move things around during vacations to help fill in the gaps. By working on scheduling changes now instead of a few days before vacations start, you’ll give employees who must temporarily change their schedules plenty of time to make any arrangements they need to make.