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Holiday Management

Holidays are the bane of all Shift Managers lives; this is because there are a lot of holidays to fit into every year. Summer is never long enough and by the time Christmas comes around you find out that everyone has two-weeks of holiday left and they have to take it before the end of the year. So how do you squeeze it all into a year?

Until we start to look at this problem in detail, and do some basic arithmetic, we cannot comprehend the enormity of this task. Even in a small office hours environment, say 10 people, they will all have about 6 weeks of holiday each. That is about 60 weeks of holiday to fit into 52 weeks in a year. That means that at least one person will have to be on holiday every day of the year.

People on holiday cost money, in holiday pay and in lost production or underutilised equipment. We either need to replace them or have extra staff around in case someone wants a holiday – but how many do we need and what skills should they have? A lot of processes require small numbers of staff with specialised skills, so if an operation takes a team of 5 staff all with different skills, how do we maintain the team when they are due 30 weeks of holiday between them?

Holidays also cost a lot in manager’s time. If you think of how much effort has to go into processing one holiday request, and then multiply it by the number of staff you are looking after, the final figure is huge. Not only must we look at each request individually to see if it can be accommodated, we also have to plan the operation to run without that person. Very few requests are denied once asked for; we simply make the effort of fitting it in with all the other requests from everyone else. A lot of management time is wasted in re-organising the work. A part of the holiday request and granting process is that managers get involved in the personal lives of their staff, and hear about all the little problems and reasons behind why they have to have exactly ‘that holiday on that date’. So the best way to reduce the manager’s workload is to alleviate the necessity for the managers to have to listen to all of their problems.

Now you can look at the problem you have by looking at the number of staff you employ and the annual number of holidays they have. If your staff are entitled to 30 days off per year, 10 staff equals 300 days of holidays, 100 staff equals 3000 holidays, and someone has to deal with them. What is needed is a system that manages the holidays with almost zero effort, zero time and leaves the company unaffected.

Holidays Included or Holidays Excluded?

There are two approaches to Holiday Management. You can either use a Holidays Included Shift Pattern or a Holidays Excluded Shift Pattern with a Holiday Management Plan.  

Holidays Included Shift Patterns are almost effortless, very efficient, minimal management involvement & everyone loves it. Basically, all the holiday entitlement that everyone has is incorporated into the shift pattern. This optimises everyone's holiday, giving them the best quality time off in a fair and regular way. If you would like to find out more please read our ebook Holiday Included Shift Patterns available from Amazon for only £6.64.

If a Holidays Included Shift Pattern is not for you, then the alternative is a Holidays Excluded Shift Pattern. This is what most companies operate; where the staff are rostered onto additional shifts and then they can select their holiday on a first come first served basis.

With a Holidays Excluded Shift Pattern you can't eliminate the effort entirely. However you can vastly reduce the effort of managing them with a Holiday Management Plan. A Holiday Management Plan will set limits on the number of staff allowed on holiday on any shift, the timetables for requests and information. This works best if the holiday resources have already been organised to match expected holiday requests. If you would like to find out more please read our ebook Holiday Management available from Amazon for only £6.24.