Take a Vacation from Annual Vacation Planning

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Shift-based, 24x7 organizations require staff at all times. This makes it incredibly stressful for HR and Operations when employees (rightfully) ask for long-term vacation—especially during the summer and holiday season, which can be your busiest time of year.

Talk about a dichotomy.

To complicate matters, even science is saying that you and your employees need to take more vacations… and they have data to prove it. According to one study, employees were able to sleep better and were subsequently in a better mood at work even one month after the vacation. Another study showed that vacations resulted in increased productivity and less exhaustion.

These wins don’t make the situation of your best worker asking for five days off in July any less stressful, of course.

In response, many organizations, particularly manufacturers, have adapted the policy of annual vacation planning. Employees plan out their vacation for the whole year; that way, schedulers and supervisors know all the vacation requests in January and can plan accordingly. While setting expectations early is certainly helpful, dealing with the (sometimes overlapping) requests gets complicated if your vacation request process relies on paper, email, or—we truly hope this isn’t the case—verbal asks.

Handling Vacation Requests the Hard Way…

Here’s how your organization probably handles vacation requests currently:

Employees either fill out a form, put the request on a paper calendar, send an email, or, in the best cases, use an app messaging platform. If there isn’t one standardized system in place, managers are juggling requests coming from various sources and then manually compiling them together. They’re using spreadsheets and folders to keep track of requests and final vacation date approvals, sometimes even going as far as to add the dates to their own calendars so they don’t forget.

It should be noted that besides taking up time that could be utilized elsewhere, none of this provides company-wide transparency. And if your company requires annual vacation planning, shift planners and schedulers could spend month's just going through one full year’s worth of requests for every employee.

…Versus the Easy Way

Our cloud-based workforce management system, Workloud, allows you to have a standard, centralized system for submitting time off requests while making employee leave balances transparent to the entire organization.

There are two models. One is based on seniority, allowing employees one by one to pick their two (or three, or four) chunks of preferred vacation time for the year. Alternatively, you let every employee choose at the same time while automatically generated pre-established rules approve and deny requests.

From the comfort of their mobile devices, employees are able to select the upcoming year’s vacation and let the platform create the schedule. From there, approvals and denials are made with the click of a button. The employee that made the request receives a real-time notification about whether their vacation was approved; no more walking into HR with “friendly reminders” and inquiries.

By doing away with paper, you can ensure that your annual vacation planning strategy actually saves time. You'll always allocate your employees' time off for the most optimal weeks based on all your complex rules— union, facility, and fatigue.

The Bottom Line

Employees shouldn’t be afraid to ask for vacation. In turn, vacation requests shouldn’t create a (literal) pile of work for management.

The two factors that streamline vacation planning are visibility and centralization. Workloud provides just that.

Workloud is our workforce management SaaS solution which offers clients an end-to-end, cloud-based employee scheduling, time & attendance, and absence management system. Workloud integrates with your human capital management and enterprise resource planning systems to create a robust platform that provides you with real-time employee data.

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