Tips for Managing Employee Holiday Schedules

It wasn't too long ago when businesses completely shut down around the holidays. But what used to be commonplace a few decades ago is no longer reality. The global marketplace dictates that businesses keep churning along regardless of what the calendar says. This may present problems for your company during the holiday season.

Holiday scheduling can wreak havoc on production and morale if it isn't handled properly. On the other hand, things can run quite smoothly with the right kinds of preparations. Below we have compiled a number of tips for managing employee holiday schedules. We hope you find them useful.


Schedule Well in Advance

This first tip would have been better given back in late August or early September, but at least you can remember for next year. Here it is: schedule time off well in advance. In fact, the sooner the better.

Let's face it, everyone wants to be off around the holidays. We all want to spend time with family and friends. But far too often, scheduling conflicts leave those at the bottom of the proverbial food chain working while employees with seniority have the time off. You can avoid this, and the bitterness it causes, by giving equal access to time off well in advance.


Share the Pain

Assuming you run a business requiring 24/7 staffing, another good tip is to share the pain of having to work on the holidays. We know of several employers who offer staff members a good deal: work Thanksgiving and you are guaranteed to have Christmas off. They stagger schedules so that every employee works one of the holidays while being off on the other.


Redistribute Some of the Work

This time of year almost always sees a drop in production. That's normal. Even though your business will stay open, you are not likely to have as much work to do – unless you are in retail or hospitality. So you can make the most of holiday scheduling by redistributing some of the work.

One group of employees may have less work to do than others. That's fine. Give them some work from another department so that everyone's load is reduced. You will have happier employees facing less pressure in the office.


Take Advantage of Technology

Technology is a great thing, isn't it? We think so, especially in the arena of payroll. We recommend you take advantage of technology for a more streamlined holiday scheduling process. It starts with a digital time and attendance tracking solution.

A digital solution makes it a lot easier to figure out who is coming and going at any point in time. That information can help you decide how to schedule employees. Digital time and attendance tracking make it easier to come up with an equitable holiday schedule that's fair to all employees.


Get with the Payroll Department

Our final tip is more for the payroll department than the managers responsible for scheduling: get with the payroll department and bring them up to speed about who is doing what. They need to be prepared for holiday schedules that might be significantly different from what they are used to.

The payroll department should also be auditing their software to make sure it is prepared for holiday scheduling. There should be no problem if your company is using a modern software solution, but it should still be audited nonetheless.

The holiday season is now upon us. With it comes some crazy employee schedules. Do not let changes to routine scheduling ruin it for you. Use these tips to stay ahead of the scheduling game so that everyone stays happy.