As another year comes to a close, your employees may be scrambling to schedule their remaining vacation for the holidays, not wanting to let their paid days off vanish. This can be a daunting task when you are trying to keep your business running smoothly. As a result, you may be faced with the challenge of approving last-minute employee vacation requests while making sure core business duties are covered.

If this is the case, here are some tips that can help:

  1. Plan ahead. One problem you may face is employees asking for vacation days at the last minute and then feeling frustrated if you don’t grant them. First, make sure that each member of your team has a clear understanding of the company’s specific vacation policy. Then let your staff know that they must have their vacation schedule to you by a specific date. This way, you can review all the requests and create a schedule that will work for everyone.
  2. Hire temporary help. Consider hiring temporary workers to help fill the gap. You get the people you need to perform tasks and complete projects, while your full-time staff gets the time off they want. In this tight labor market, hiring temporary employees also gives you an opportunity to get exposure to candidates that may fit into your organization as a full-time employee, now or in the future.
  3. Communicate. If too many people want the same days off, sit down with the affected employees and explain your dilemma to them. Many business owners find that employees will compromise with one another, so ask them to collaborate on a holiday schedule. Most people understand and appreciate the need to ensure the business is functioning well, and that not everyone from a work team can be simultaneously absent.
  4. Be fair and balanced. If employees are unable to come up with a workable schedule, try to design one that shares the holiday work hours as much as possible. Some methods employers incorporate to make these decisions are approving vacation leave on a “first come, first served” basis or using seniority as the deciding factor.

Managing your staff’s time off during the holidays can be challenging, but with these tips, you will ensure that the process runs smoothly and your business still functions in the most efficient way possible.