Summer of Sport: How to manage holiday requests in the Workplace

12 June 2024 | Blog

With a Summer of Sport ahead, namely Euro 2024 and The Olympics. Couple this up with the general holiday season during June, July and August, it is fair to say that employers and line managers across the country should expect a significant rise in holiday requests from employees during this summer period. It is vital that you manage these requests effectively and make decisions that benefit your organisation best.

Clear and concise communication is vital in this process. Employees should be receiving consistent reminders from their employers and line managers on the relevant policies that organisation has in place. Remember, every organisation may work out holidays differently. This can include information on topics such as advance requests and the relevant time periods. Furthermore, if there is the maximum number of people booked off at a certain point then it may be worthwhile notifying your employees of this. This may avoid the awkward nature of denying holiday requests.

A fair and transparent holiday approval process should be in place and working on a first – come, first – served basis. This helps facilitate for a fair and smooth holiday request system, in turn assisting with morale boosting. In addition, by outlining clearly your holiday process, you will avoid any potential misunderstandings and conflicts, and can help to make sure that all employee’s holiday requests are handled adequately and fairly.

Employers also have a responsibility to manage their staffing levels. This can include planning ahead with the hiring of temporary and / or part – time staff, rearranging staff shifts to suit your needs or potentially even training employees to cover multiple roles during this period. By having an effective planning process in place, you can prevent disruptions to business operations whilst also maintaining productivity.

Additionally, employers can help promote flexibility within the workplace, as and when possible. Flexible working arrangements such as a hybrid working scheme, can help accommodate the needs of your employees, whilst also providing a suitable solution for your business needs. If you can find out more about why you should consider implementing a flexible working pattern, you can do so here.

It’s important you know how to handle these requests, whilst also maintaining effective business operations.

Plan ahead for the upcoming months, including the Summer of Sport. Ensure your staff are aware of the popular holiday times and that they must submit requests as early as possible.

We’ve put together a detailed approach for how you can manage this period effectively:

1.Communicate any key dates and events, ensuring your staff are aware of major sporting events and the likely correlation between that and an increase of holidays. Communication is easy nowadays with tools such as Microsoft Outlook or Microsoft Teams, as well as internal systems such as Slack.

2. Submit holidays requests as early as feasible. A last minute, spontaneous holiday can be fun, but there’s nothing worse for an employer, especially if this holiday request is within the busy summer holiday period. By submitting your holiday request early, you are not only helping out your employer, but you are also increasing the likelihood of this holiday request being accepted.

3. Ensure your holiday policies are up to date and are suited to accommodate busy periods in the workplace. This is something we can help you with. If you would like us to take a look at your holiday policies, then get in contact with us via the contact form at the bottom of the page.

4. Be flexible in your own approach. Holidays plans can change so be prepared for this. In addition, hold regular feedback sessions with your team on a variety of subjects, but particularly on issues such as holiday requests. Take on board any feedback they provide and act on this accordingly.

These are just a few changes that you can consider implementing within to your working process. You can ensure that your business remains efficient and productive during busy holiday periods. You can also balance this with supporting your employees’ need for time off. By having an effective planning process in place, you will not only avoid any future potential conflict but you can strike the perfect balance.

Processes such as a clear holiday policy will make help employees when making decisions around upcoming holidays.

What benefits does a clear holiday policy have? Let’s dive into it.

  • Clarity and Transparency around how holiday requests are managed. Details such as the approval process are key for employees. If an employee knows what to expect, then this will reduce any confusion or frustration around the holiday process.

 

  • Achieve a fair and consistent process by having a clearly defined holiday process. Employees should have easy access to their employee handbook, and they can then refer to this should they need further information on the holiday process. By doing this you are also more likely to build trust amongst the workforces.

  • If your employees understand how to work the holiday request system, then this will allow for better advance planning. You will be able to see months in advance what staff are off when. We use Breathe HR for this, and we couldn’t recommend it more. Find out further information about Breathe HR here.

As an employer, you can say no to holiday requests if it doesn’t suit your business needs. When a holiday request comes in, it is important to review it and decide whether you can afford to lose this member of stuff at that time. An important aspect to note here however, is that denying holiday requests can have a significant negative impact on workplace morale.

Assess your business needs when a holiday request. It is important that you are aware of relevant factors such as business needs and staffing levels at the time of the holiday request. You will need to decide if you can lose that employee for the requested time, without significantly affecting business operations.

Consider alternatives such as flexible working arrangements or partial leave if this is possible. There should be a willingness to find an appropriate middle ground in this instance. To ensure your employee complies with this you should aim to build trust and relationships with them on a regular basis. Therefore, if issues do arise surrounding holiday requests, then there is a mutual agreement that you will sort this issue.

On the other hand, it is also important to consider this process from an employee’s point of view. Denying a holiday request can have serious impacts upon the morale of the workplace. Often, the employee will already have booked and paid for the holiday by the time they are requesting time off from work. Denying such request may lead to feelings of resentment, decreased motivation, and even the employee leaving the business. We strongly recommend considering all other options before denying an employee’s holiday request.

It is likely that employees who are not away on holiday but still in the workplace, may wish to watch the sporting events. Therefore, we recommend, if possible, to provide your employees that opportunity to watch them. In our office throughout the summer, we’re embracing the Summer of Sport by having the Euros 2024 & The Olympics on our TVs. Our team will also be allowed to work from home if they prefer too. We find that this relaxed approach helps with the productivity of our team and is something we would advise exploring. However, we understand that not all workplaces will have this luxury.

If possible, have a TV in your staff room / break room that is showing the sporting events. This means that, even if staff are in work, they can still view the sporting events on their break. You may find that employees are less likely to request time off work if they can potentially view the event whilst in work. Ensure the space is comfortable and accessible for all.

Whilst this suggestion may appear, at first glance, counterintuitive, allowing employees to watch sporting events may enhance productivity. Watching sporting events may help employees to relax in the workplace (unless they are watching Scotland play!). When in a comfortable environment, employees tend to produce their best work. Happy employees are more motivated and more productive. Watching these sporting events in a common area may also provide employees the opportunity to get to know each other better.

Lastly, we recommend organising activities around the sporting events that will help the full team become involved. One example we’d like to highlight is our very own office sweepstake. Our full team are taking part in this, and it helps mean that everyone in the office can get involved in the sporting conversation, even if they have no interest in it outside of work. This is a simple method that, when implemented, can have benefits such as improved relationships amongst the team members and also improved morale within your working environment. Not to mention the obvious benefit of your team winning and the subsequent cash prize!

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