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Handling Time-Off Requests

Time-off requests, like scheduling, can be a huge headache just waiting to happen. It may not be the most difficult part of your job, but it’s certainly close to the top of the list.

Here are some tips for handling time-off requests and shows you the best solution for making the process much simpler.

Define The Rules Of Time-Off Requests

Transparency and clarity of process are very important when dealing with time-off requests. Everyone—employees, management, and ownership alike—should know and understand the rules you set up to govern the business’s time-off requests. Keeping your time-off process clear, and making sure everyone understands it, helps everything else run smoothly by avoiding conflict among you and your staff. Additionally, establishing rules for time-off requests shows that you respect both your employees and their time.

Establish A Policy For Overlapping Requests

Inevitably, there will be overlapping time-off requests, especially around the holidays. This rush of time-off requests can cause friction between you and your employees, and between the employees themselves. This friction can then filter down and affect your customers. A simple way to defuse these problems before they happen is to establish a policy that outlines how overlapping requests will be handled. That way, everyone understands why employee A got her time-off request approved while employee B didn’t.

Make A Form That Everyone Should Use

Organization is key when it comes to scheduling time-off requests. Having one employee tell you directly about an upcoming time-off request, while another employee scribbles their request on a piece of scrap paper, it will just make a confusion. To make the time-off request process as standardized as possible, create a form that everyone will use.

Make It Easy For Employees To Submit Their Request

Making it easy for employees to submit their time-off requests is paramount for their happiness and yours. If your rules state that the employee needs to fill out a time-off request form and hand it to you directly, make sure you are available during work hours. If that’s not always possible, you might consider installing a time-off box (like a suggestion box) where employees can drop their request forms. Be sure to check the box often so you don’t miss a request.

Keep All Your Time-Off Requests In One Place

There’s nothing worse than having an employee come to you wondering about their time-off request while you have no idea what they’re talking about. With paper copies of time-off requests, it can be extremely difficult to keep track of them all unless you are very well organized. If you’re using paper request forms, a binder, folder, or index card box can keep everything in one place.

Plan For Emergencies

The ideal plan for these types of situations includes a group of trusted and reliable part-time workers that you can call on in an emergency. These part-time workers can help fill in when time-off requests are at their highest or when an employee has to leave to attend to a sick child while all your other employees are either working on unavailable.

Consider Your Business’s Needs

When time-off requests come in, it’s important to always consider your business’s needs along with your employee’s needs. First and foremost, you, as the manager, have to ensure that certain things get done on every shift. That means that you also need to ensure that the right people are working to get those jobs done. Perhaps you need employee #1 on a specific day for a specific shift because you’ve already scheduled employee #2 for a different shift. Because of those business needs, a time-off request may need to be turned down or delayed.

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