Is Your Office Summer Ready ?
Is your office ready for the summer holiday season?
Out of offices are on, but is your office beach ready? School summer holidays are upon us and employees will be looking forward to a well-deserved week or two off. Covering for holidays can be very tricky. How can you ensure that the time off is not going to disrupt the whole team or business?
When accepting holiday requests, think about your business needs for the summer period.
Ask yourself the following:
- How will you ensure the phones are answered and queries properly dealt with?
- Will your customers and clients continue to be properly supported?
- Do you have any special events or projects that will need to be fully staffed?
If you know that it’s going to be a tight squeeze consider bringing in freelance or temporary support. Not only will they bring an extra pair of hands, but a fresh pair of eyes can offer a new perspective on your work. Remember to plan ahead though as the best people aren’t always available at short notice. Budget constraints may mean bringing in an extra set of hands isn’t feasible. Consider asking your existing staff whether they would consider stepping into a different role to learn a new set of skills for a short period. Not only will it help to alleviate some pressures, but it can motivate and build confidence.
Keep in mind that not everyone has the option to go on a week to the Med and team members who aren’t going on holiday may feel overworked and a bit undervalued as they cover for their colleagues. To keep morale and productivity up consider introducing some fun summer perks. Doesn’t have to be huge, an early Friday finish to enjoy the sunshine or a nice team lunch in a nearby park, can sometimes make all the difference.
Prioritise tasks and hold off on huge projects
When planning ahead for the summer, consider which projects could easily be postponed. Not only will holding back keep some money in the bank, but you can ensure your team’s head are back in the game and firing on all cylinders. If postponing isn’t an option, prioritise what needs to be done by colleagues with a holiday coming up. Give them enough opportunity to complete them by distributing smaller or less pressing tasks around the rest of the teams. To make it easier for team members left behind, consider introducing an official handover policy. Have employees leave detailed notes that anyone in the business can understand.
Ease your staff back in
We all like to think that when staff return from holiday they will be refreshed and ready to hit the ground running. In reality, they’re probably suffering from holiday blues, and may even be a bit jet-lagged. Try not to overwhelm them by falling down the trap of quick five-minute update meetings. Instead, make them feel motivated about being back in the office by giving them the proper time to go through their emails and speak with colleagues who have covered for them. If anything major has happened while they’ve been away, ensure line managers organise enough time with them so they can be fully debriefed.
Whilst managing the summer holiday period can feel like a nightmare, don’t underestimate the importance of letting your employees have sufficient time off work. Last year, the Health and Safety Executive calculated that 15.4 million days were lost to stress and depression . If team members haven’t enjoyed sufficient time off this year, encourage them to do so.