The Monday preceding Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season. This period spans about five weeks, culminating in Bay Area residents rooting for Stanford, Cal-Berkeley and San Jose State in college bowl games. Unfortunately only Cal is bowl eligible as of publishing. Meanwhile Human Resources and other managers are grappling with the realities that comes with the annual festivities.
Productivity around the holidays isn’t necessarily worse during the holiday season. Mountain View-based software firm Egnyte found in a 2017 study that productivity only dropped about 5% the week of Christmas and New Year’s Day. Researchers concluded that the negligible drop in production was mitigated by employees logging in remotely, answering emails and completing other tasks.
There’s also the obligation factor. About 51% of employees feel uneasy asking their supervisors for time off during the holidays, according to a 2018 West Monroe survey. The discomfort is even more pronounced in the banking sector, where 64% of employees felt uneasy asking for holiday time off.
Vacation time is good for both companies and employees. A rested, focused worker is more productive and motivated than someone who feels trapped. Here are four ways to manage holiday time off fairly and equitably.
It’s never a good idea to imply some workers are more valuable and important than others. At the same time, loyalty to the company should be rewarded.
Seniority is used as a tiebreaker in conjunction with a first come, first serve vacation policies. Many companies use cloud services that allow workers to request time off months in advance. It’s best practice to remind workers of the forthcoming holiday season and the spike in time off requests. Make clear that last minute requests are difficult to accommodate and that seniority will be taken into consideration.
Encourage workers to request time off well in advance to avoid potential conflict.
Organizational need ultimately dictates who gets time off and when. Smaller companies simply do not have the personnel necessary to accommodate extended time off for multiple employees during the holidays. Those who want a week or more off in December have to earn it.Employees who volunteer to work overtime and on weekends during peak times should be given priority over everyone else. Incentivize time-off with specific KPIs that each employees must meet or exceed to move ahead in the pecking order. Rewards should be specifically tailored to your company culture.
There’s a slippery slope when the final decision for time off comes from an individual versus a policy. Accusations of favoritism and even fraternization could arise when a disgruntled worker doesn’t get their requested time off.
Managers must make clear the criteria used when making decisions about time off. For example, an employee who has used no personal time-off that year gets priority over their counterpart who has taken two weeks off already. The employees with perfect attendance is also favored.
This type of arrangement requires some advance planning. But the most equitable holiday vacation policy is shutting the company down from December 24 through January 1. Employees are encouraged to work hard, clear their pipelines and come back fresh for the new year. A common caveat is that all employees must check emails and log into Slack daily during the shutdown. Client needs are always the top priority of successful firms.
Eco Office is the premier provider of new and used office furniture, and innovative office design in the Bay Area. Give us a call at 408-437-1700 to talk about your office redesign or build.