HR 24 August 2017

How to plan for the employee trend of taking short holidays more frequently

Work life balance choices
Younger workers are more likely to take frequent breaks

A recent study has found that British workers now take short holidays more frequently than in years gone by. HR director at consultancy Pytronot, Gideon Schulman, asks how this impacts micro firms.

Over the last few decades the workforce has observed the impact of different generations. Baby boomers, Generation X, millennials, and Generation Z born after the millennium – all have grown up having different needs, wants, values, motivators, behaviours and expectations, in addition to cultural, gender, age differences and so on.

This is reflected in the workplace and creates challenges on a number of levels. Managing staff from multiple generations, with differing (and sometimes conflicting) values can be difficult, whilst ensuring the business operations are not detrimentally affected.

A specific example is working patterns. Whilst one group are happy to work their hours, others look for flexible working arrangements, both in terms of time and location.

The most recent Travel Trends report, released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in May 2017 shows interesting reading in relation to overseas travel (it doesn’t capture UK breaks).

In 2016, there were 70.8m visits overseas by UK residents, compared to 69.5m in 2006 and 42m in 1996. The most popular reason for travel was for short holidays, followed by visiting friends and family.

In real terms, there were 45m holiday visits and 16.6m visiting friends and family in 2016, compared to 1996, when there were 26.8m holiday visits and 5.5m visiting friends and family. To some extent, these figures account for the increase of British residents and increase in disposable income.

Micro firms are likely to struggle most when it comes to staff taking short holidays more frequently. This is because there will be a limited number of staff left to cover the work, and if two people take short holidays at the same time, it will become even more difficult.

Going away can also put people out of the loop, which means it can take longer for them to get back into the swing of things. The more frequently this is done, the more likely they are of being less productive on the days they return.

From a management perspective, it is essential to understand business’ critical activities and the resources required to deliver them. Good communication is also fundamental to the success of any organisation. Making sure staff understand your expectations and vice versa is key, you then need to be able to manage those relationships appropriately.

It is important that businesses have the appropriate HR protocols in place. This is to make sure that they are secure as a business and comfortable to keep things running smoothly when staff take short holidays.

It is best that it is made clear in the working contract that there are measures that are taken when an employee starts, which can be explained in further detail by a HR expert.

Gideon Schulman is the HR Director of Pytronot, offering advice to micro firms on all types of business needs.

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