Business Advice, HR, Strategy

How to Manage Workload When Employees Take Time Off

Business Advice | 15 February 2023 | 1 year ago

There is a lot that goes into managing employees, and this includes holidays and rotas. When an employee takes time off, you need to make sure that their tasks are going to be covered, or someone else can pick up the slack somewhat during their absence. Otherwise, you could end up with a workload that’s poorly managed, and you run the risk of delays. Luckily, there are a number of ways to manage this.

Schedule Ahead

It’s important that employees give sufficient notice of planned holidays, to give you time as a manager to plan around them accordingly. Employees taking time off at the last minute can’t always be helped, but planned holidays should be scheduled in advance and with enough time for cover to be arranged. This can be solved by encouraging employees to request time off as far in advance as possible. The earlier you plan around an employee holiday, the easier it will be to manage the workload, so don’t delay. It’s also helpful to stagger holidays across the team, so that everyone isn’t off at the same time. For example, you could have a limit of only two or three people being off at once, depending on how large your team is. This means that there are always people around to handle things, and projects aren’t delayed simply because someone has taken time off.

Delegate Responsibilities

When employees are going to be taking time off, you need to work out who will cover the main tasks. You don’t want projects to be delayed simply because someone has booked a holiday, so delegate responsibilities beforehand. Try to rotate this additional workload to avoid it being the same employees covering each and every time, as this could be a lot to ask of one or two members of staff. It’s also worthwhile to make sure there’s nothing that only one employee knows how to do, as this could become a problem if that individual is off. Make use of handovers, training and shared files to ensure multiple people can take over a task if needed.

Consider Outsourcing

If you have work that needs to be covered close to a deadline, consider getting outside help from a freelancer or agency. Outsourcing is a fantastic way to lighten the workload for your employees, without having to compromise on tasks being completed to a high standard. There are two main ways of outsourcing; you could hire a freelancer on a ‘one off’ basis to cover someone’s holiday, or you can send them work regularly as and when you need an extra pair of hands. Outsourcing can be particularly helpful at times of year when a lot of employees take time off, such as during the summer or over the festive period.

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