Tags – How to Manage Staff During Summer 2021

Summer has finally landed and not just in the weather sense.

We’re at that time of year when a large number of employees want to take their annual leave.

For many businesses, this can be a nightmare when it comes to shift planning.

At the best of times, annual leave can be tricky to manage, let alone when the summer season arrives and the requests surge.

Which begs the question, how can businesses give valued staff members time to relax and recharge without it having an effect on productivity in the workplace?

In addition, the past year has been a difficult one and travel restrictions make things a little more complicated.

Here are our top 5 tips for managing staff during this summer.


1. Surge in Requests as Lockdown Restrictions Ease

As the restrictions begin to ease across the UK and other parts of the world, you may have found there’s been a high number of annual leave requests more recently.

The problem for businesses is that when requests are made at short notice, they can’t all be approved as this would cause havoc with operational processes.

As such, employers should have a clear holiday policy that states requests can be rejected based on operations or not enough notice; this should allow staff to understand why their annual leave has been turned down.


2. Self-Isolation When Returning From Abroad

Depending on where your employees travel, they may be required to self-isolate for up to 10 days when they return, whether this be at home or a quarantine hotel.

As an employer, this may cause some concern as they’ll be out of the business for quite some time and it can have an impact on productivity.

However, this should not be a reason for you to reject the holiday request and instead, you should try and take a sympathetic approach – perhaps they need to visit a family member who they have not seen for a long time, for example.

Depending on the nature of their role, consider whether they can work remotely during their self-isolation; this way you’re not losing an employee for an additional 10 days.

Secondly, assess how many days of annual leave the employee has remaining for the year as it could be they have enough to take off during this time, or maybe suggesting they take that period as unpaid leave.

With that said, if you cannot accommodate time off for that long then you can refuse the holiday request, but this should be the last resort and try to find solutions first.


3. School Summer Holidays

For staff with children, it’s more likely they’ll request time off during the summer so they can be at home during the school holidays.

In other words, it’s this time of year when staff struggle with childcare responsibilities and find work life balance difficult.

Sometimes, staff may ask for extra flexibility with their shift patterns or even asked to be furloughed so that they can be at home with their kids.

As an employer, it’s always good practice to allow parents with flexible working hours to cope during the summer holidays.

Doing so will show your staff you truly do value them and in return, you should see better levels of engagement and productivity.

Moreover, you could consider working-from-home policies over the summer period; hybrid working policies to assist those with children.

At the end of the day, if flexible working does not interfere with daily operations, there’s no reason why you should deny this request – but of course, it depends on the nature of your workforce.

In regards to furlough, the government has advised that this is an option for employees who are not able to manage their childcare responsibilities, however the decision is ultimately yours.


4. Last-Minute Holiday Cancellations

Given the current global situation, no holiday is guaranteed and with travel restrictions and last minute cancellations, staff may want to cancel their annual leave too.

Unless stated in the holiday policy, you don’t have to agree to cancel the annual leave request, but you should assess the business’s needs and personal circumstances.

For instance, if during the summer the workload is not as busy, you may not want to cancel annual leave because there won’t be that much to do.

However, during these uncertain times we’d recommend being flexible with annual leave requests to maintain a good relationship between you and your staff.


5. Build Up of Annual Leave Not Taken

It would not be unusual for staff to be reluctant about taking annual leave due to ongoing travel restrictions or being nervous about going on holiday.

In some cases, when annual leave is not taken in the year previously, these days are carried over which can result in staff having a big build-up of days that they have not yet taken off.

In this instance, staff should be encouraged to take some of their days off during the summer or a particular period.

For example, let’s say your business has less consumer demand during August – it could be a requirement for staff to take at least a week, if not two weeks off in this month.

As mentioned before, as long as this is stated in your holiday policy, employers can delegate periods where staff must take holiday.


Final Words

Overall, you’ll need to consider the needs of your business as well as sympathising with your team during this time.

Whatever you decide, it’s important to clearly communicate with your staff and lay out any specific requirements in your holiday policy to avoid any confusion and potential complaints.

To find out more, please contact us today.

In the meantime, check out our HR Consultancy Huddersfield services.

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