Be Prepared For a Surge in PTO Requests This Holiday Season With These Tips

The holiday season is a competitive time when it comes to employees asking for time off. As much as you want to make your team happy and approve everyone’s PTO requests, it simply may not be plausible in order to keep your workplace running. Be prepared for a surge in PTO requests this holiday season with these tips:

Set Expectations As Soon As Possible 

It’s crucial to have all your employees on the same page regarding the specific process of asking for time off, especially during the holidays. Clarify how soon in advance time off requests must be submitted, if there are any limitations for how many days asked for, and the method they should use to submit requests (i.e., an online form, email, etc.). 

Establish an Official Overlapping Policy

To avoid the impression of favoritism when multiple employees ask for the same days off, have set guidelines in place to determine who gets approval in instances of overlapping requests. Some possible policy options for decision-making for overlapping PTO requests include: first come, first served with whoever’s request being submitted soonest gets approved; seniority with whichever employees have been at the company the longest or are at the highest level; or based on departmental or organizational need.  

Offer Incentives for Working During the Holiday Season

Another option to reduce the number of overlapping requests for PTO during the holiday season is to make it beneficial for employees who opt to work and take time off during a less competitive period. For example, you could offer an extra day off to be used at a later time, a higher hourly rate or other monetary bonus, let them dress more casually, or provide catered lunches during workdays during the holiday season. 

Have an Emergency Back-Up Plan

No matter how well you try to be prepared for the surge in holiday PTO requests, there may be situations outside of your control, such as employees not showing up if they were scheduled, suddenly quitting without notice, or having scheduled employees have legitimate reasons why they cannot come in, such as illness or injury. It is essential to have an emergency backup plan to account for the unexpected. Consider working with a staffing firm to have temporary employees available during peak times of the year when coverage is challenging. 

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