Happier employees could be as close as an employee vacation request form
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Happier employees could be as close as an employee vacation request form

You know the feeling.   The weather is warming up, the end of the school year is in sight…and your thoughts are turning to summer and vacation.  And guess what?  Your employees are thinking the same thing.

Why not give employee happiness a great big boost today by bringing out the employee vacation request forms, and plopping them down in plain sight?  When the rush to grab one of the forms, and flip through a calendar subsides, you’ll have an office full of smiles.

And while we’re on the subject, a few employee vacation request tips

  1. Make sure everyone gets one, and everyone understands how they work.  Whether you use a preprinted two part vacation request form or an electronic vacation request form, make sure everyone who’s entitled to time off has access to the forms, and knows exactly what information is needed. Blank scrap paper might work in a pinch, but using a standard form means you’ll get all the information you need for accurate vacation scheduling.
  2. Give employees a way to check leave balances. It’s hard to plan a vacation if you’re guessing how many hours or days you’ll have by summertime, so provide employees with a way to see current and projected leave balances.  Not only will it make it easier for them, it will reduce the number of changes you have to make, as employees discover they have more or less time off than they expected.
  3. Set deadlines for vacation requests – and approvals. Even if you have an informal system for requesting time off during the rest of the year, summertime’s rush of employee vacation requests means you’ll need more time to plan for staffing levels, and work out the details of overlapping vacations.  A clear deadline for requesting vacation for June through August will make the process go smoother. And make sure you have an approval deadline as well, so employees have plenty of time to book flights or cruises if they’re traveling, or just to know when their “staycation” begins.
  4. Make sure you have your employee vacation tracker ready to go. Before you enter a single vacation day, make sure your vacation tracker includes all employees’ names, fulltime or part time status and vacation hours available.  That front-end work will help you avoid a crunch of work as the requests begin rolling in.
  5. Check your employee vacation policy.  Make sure your vacation request policy is in writing, including the information required, deadlines and any factors that affect approvals (such as seniority.) If you don’t have an official, written policy, now is the time to write one.  Even small businesses need a written vacation policy, to avoid the possibility of wage and hour violations, or charges of discrimination.
All ready?  Now grab those forms, get your lounge chair and a tall, cold drink, and wait for the fun to begin! Ready, set, vacation time!

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