5 Ways to Take the Ugh Out of Your Company’s Time-Off Request Process
Vacation requests based on manual paper processes or an ad hoc email request system can be fraught with potential for problems. The office manager or HR person responsible for processing leave requests can end up spending massive amounts of time ensuring that staffing won’t suffer during planned absences. And when multiple people request vacation days that overlap, employee frustration can mount also.
Scheduling conflicts inevitably occur with vacation requests, and handling vacation scheduling can be complex and demanding if you want to ensure business continuity while employees are absent. But there are a number of things you can do to take the “Ugh” out of time-off requests. Here are 5 tips for making vacation scheduling more effective and less disruptive.
1. Define and Effectively Communicate Your Vacation Policy
You should discuss your vacation policy during the hiring and on-boarding process and ensure that all employees have written copies of the policy. If there are specific periods during which vacations will be restricted or not allowed (such as in the lead-up to Christmas), ensure these periods are highlighted in the policy. Explain the procedure for determining which request receives priority should vacation requests coincide.
2. Set a Deadline for Vacation Requests
In your vacation policy, specify how far in advance employees must request vacation days and enforce it consistently. This will help ensure that your office manager or HR person has sufficient time to evaluate how the absence might affect production or delivery schedules. It also allows plenty of time for steps to be taken to ensure minimal disruption during employee absences.
3. Create an Online Vacation Request Form for Employees
Using a clear, user friendly online form for requesting vacation days is far preferable to using paper forms, which take longer, risk being lost, and needlessly prolong the request / approval cycle. The time off request form should include spaces for relevant employee information, number of days off requested, and specific dates. Completed forms can be automatically submitted to the employee’s direct supervisor, and then to the office manager or whoever is responsible for scheduling.
With a capable online form system, users can be automatically notified by email at each step of the approval process so that there are no surprises and all relevant people can be kept informed at all times.
4. Enter Leave Data Into an Internally Shared Time-Off Calendar
Many companies use shared time-off calendars into which all vacation information is entered. Vacation requests entered into the calendar can be color coded based on where in the approval process requests are at any given time. With a time-off calendar available to all pertinent staff members, employees know what to expect when they request time off, and managers know ahead of time of the potential for scheduling conflicts so they can be avoided.
5. Prepare for Scheduled Absences
If co-workers will be covering the tasks of vacationing staff members, give them sufficient notice so they can prepare. Additionally, ask those taking time off to provide relevant co-workers with information on works in progress, specific responsibilities, key contacts, and how to access required files and other information to complete daily tasks. If possible, it’s best to distribute the absent person’s duties among multiple co-workers so that one person isn’t faced with having to do the work of two.
Scheduling time off is a challenge, and PerfectForms can help. PerfectForms is an automation and electronic forms solution that anyone can use to create custom electronic survey forms with a convenient drag-and-drop interface. PerfectForms lets you create your own custom forms from scratch or use a number of customizable templates, with no programming required. PerfectForms offers you the ideal tool for creating a vacation request process that will help prevent staff shortages and reduce scheduling conflicts. To learn more, watch our product demo, and see for yourself how easy it is to create custom electronic forms and integrate them into your forms workflows.
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