How To Organize Staff Vacations

Depending on the number of employees, if you want to know how to organize staff vacations to maximum advantage and reduce downtime or impact on productivity, then a clear representation of typical annual workflow spikes, high production periods and sales peaks and ebbs is necessary.

Note the number of holidays, sick days and personal days allotted to employees via company policy. With this information, it's easier to proceed with the actual organization of staff vacations.  Keeping the accent on organization is the main mechanism of coordinating annual staff vacations.

The following steps make this easier.

  1. Create a calendar that indicates all regular business holidays.
  2. To this, add shaded areas which show typical annual workflow spikes and production and sales peaks and ebbs. Be sure to use a legend to explain shaded areas.
  3. The calendar now evokes a clearer picture of when the most advantageous staff vacation times occur in the year.

To avoid large gaps in staffing, provide employees with a copy of this vacation calendar at the beginning of each year. This allows for a 12-month span in which employees can plan their vacation schedules. Have employees fill in as many of their vacation days as possible, allowing 2 weeks before the planned vacation time for any changes to their calendars.  If there are any conflicts, they can be settled by seniority or the "first-come, first-served" method, if that meets with company policy. 

Having employees plan their vacations before the end of each quarter offers management the opportunity to fill in holes in staffing in advance. This also alleviates problems within departments where staff and management may be limited or where production is heaviest.  Most employees have an idea of when they want to take their vacations.  Use this as a guide to encouraging employees to "claim" their vacation days as soon as is reasonable. The calendar also serves as an employee's guide to when vacations can be taken without disrupting workflow or production.

Employee Vacation Calendars

Once employees complete their vacation calendar, a copy should be kept in a personnel department file for reference and a copy should be provided to the employee.  The employee's copy can be updated if changes become necessary and the updated version can be sent on to management or personnel for approval.  Personnel or departmental managers should also receive copies to track any problems.  This calendar can be transferred to a wall-sized version if necessary.  Implementing the employee calendar is a simple way to organize staff vacations. 


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