How to Manage Workloads When Employees are on Leave

“Despite what it may feel like, the world does not stop turning during holiday periods. Whether it’s the summer holidays or the Christmas holiday period, work and projects still manage to pile up. This can be made worse when employees and colleagues are enjoying holidays and relaxation time of their own. Work can often fall to the remaining employees, making days more stressful for those left in the office. We have put together some tips on managing workloads when employees are thin on the ground.

This may seem a simple and irrelevant tip, but encouraging regular communication can solve many problems in the workplace. Weekly or even daily team meetings can help keep people up-to-date on what everyone is working on and when people will be off. Keeping everyone in the loop is a great way to not be blind-sided by any changes, and could even help to relieve stress and prevent burnout in the workplace. Check out our blog for more tips on easing stress while working. Keeping the rapport between colleagues positive might even make people feel easier about taking time off and explaining any delegated tasks.
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Absence Management System
Investing in an employee leave management system, or refreshing people on your current system can be a great way to prevent confusion and ease busy holiday periods. The leave procedure for employees should involve adding their holiday dates into a system that is viewable by all employees. This then provides a clear overview so that when people go to book their own leave they can avoid periods where there is already a lot of leave being taken.


Prioritise and Delegate
There is no reason for efficiency to take a huge hit over holiday periods. There are smart ways to delegate tasks. It would be useful if the employee taking leave is involved in the delegation process, as they can help to point out people who would be good to take on certain tasks. If people are more familiar with certain work fields or clients, this should be taken into account, but at the same time, you should be ensuring no single colleague is overwhelmed with tasks. With more urgent tasks, these should be highlighted clearly to be prioritised as they are not part of someone’s regular workload and could be overlooked.
If employees are reluctant to take leave, remind them of the importance of taking annual leave with our blog.

Set deadlines and expectations
If employees are taking leave, you should make them aware of any deadlines or priorities that need to be alleviated prior to their departure. This can help to ease the workload of the remaining employees. This is also a good opportunity to check that all tasks are set with deadlines, as this is a good way to motivate and keep track of employees tackling their workloads.

Plan ahead
Planning ahead in a business is never a bad decision. The implementation of a leave procedure for employees should include that holiday is booked well in advance. Having an overview of the workload that will be coming in will allow you to spot any surges and accommodate for them, preparing your workforce and enlisting extra help if necessary. If employees will be low in numbers during one busy period, discuss with the team if existing tasks and deadlines are realistic and inform clients if there are likely delays.”