Managing the Office: How to Stay Sane During the Holidays

Who doesn't love the start of the holiday season every November? If anybody, it is that group of low level managers who bear the brunt of the responsibility for managing the office while legions of workers take their vacation time around Thanksgiving and Christmas. For the unfortunate few, keeping things going during the holiday season can be an exercise in maintaining sanity.

Vacation time and the annual holiday season go together like baseball and apple pie. Unless a company specifically prohibits taking vacation time between mid-November and early January, employees are likely to use all or some of the vacation days to spend more time with family. Those left behind at work have to make the best of a noticeably empty office to keep things going.

We have a few suggestions:

1. Prepare the Payroll Department

The holiday season can be troublesome for payroll departments tasked with keeping track of personal time, vacation time, and regular hours. Large numbers of employees taking time off during the holidays only complicates matters. We recommend preparing the payroll department ahead of time.

Anyone tasked with payroll responsibilities should start looking at how they will handle their individual responsibilities. They should be looking at vacation time already on the schedule and asking managers and department heads to get their vacation requests submitted as soon as possible. Payroll staff should also be talking with managers about plans for overtime and holidays where applicable.

2. Solidify Work Schedules

Separate from payroll entirely, managers should be working with their employees to solidify holiday work schedules as soon as possible. Employees should be encouraged not to wait until mid-December to decide to take vacation time. That is not fair on managers trying to plan on how the work is going to get done.

3. Start Reassigning Tasks

The work must go on even when large numbers of employees take time off over the holidays. For managers, this can be a trap. Some assume a lot of the extra work themselves even though it can be too much for them. Others delegate, but not nearly as much as they ought to. We recommend reassigning tasks now, before the pressure of the holiday season gets in the way of wise decision-making.

Managers that have already nailed down a holiday season work schedule should also know what tasks will need to be reassigned. They can start reassigning them now to workers they know will still be in the office, in such a way as to evenly distribute the workload.

4. Verify Employee Data Information

Lastly, the HR department will need to start working on end-of-the-year tax reporting as soon as they return to work in early January. That is not the time to verify employee data information. Rather, the time to do it is now.

Wise managers will start asking their employees to check the accuracy of their personal data in late November or early December. That way, the HR department can do what it needs to do before December ends. They will be able to hit the ground running when they begin the tax reporting process in January.

One last thing we recommend is partnering with a payroll solution provider, like BenefitMall, in order to eliminate the hassle of handing payroll in-house. We take a lot of the stress out of the holiday season by handling nearly every aspect of payroll for our clients. If you want more information about how one of our cloud-based solutions can help you maintain a more efficient office, do not hesitate to reach out to us.