Flip flips, sun, and sandy beaches — yes, we’re approaching the end of summer! That means, if you’re like us and most of our clients, you’ve likely found yourself in the middle of a mountain of vacation requests. Of course, you want your team wants to take advantage of the warmer weather and longer days, but you don’t want everyone taking off at the same time. That’s why it’s important to have a plan in place for how you’ll handle increased PTO requests.

Communicate expectations and policies.

As an employer, it’s important to let your employees know what your PTO policy is and how you expect them to request time off. If you have a first-come, first-served policy, make sure they know that and encourage them to submit their requests early. If you decide to stagger your employees’ vacation days, let them know that as well.

Employees should also be aware of any blackout dates for vacation days (for example, if you don’t allow vacation days during the busiest times of the year). Finally, make sure your employees know how far in advance they need to submit their PTO requests. By being clear about your PTO policy, you can help ensure that your employees take the time off they need while still meeting the needs of your business.

Automate, cross-train, and hire extra help.

If you’re not careful, the influx of PTO requests can leave your company short-staffed when business is typically buzzing. To avoid this problem, there are a few things you can do. First, try to automate as much of your business as possible. Not only will this help streamline your normal day-to-day operations, but it will also make it easier to keep things running smoothly when you have employees out on vacation.

Cross-training is another great way to prepare for increased PTO requests. By training your employees to do different tasks, you can ensure that critical functions are still being taken care of even when key team members are out.

Finally, if you know you’re going to be short-staffed during certain times of the year, consider hiring temporary or part-time help to cover the busy times. By taking these steps, you can ensure that your company has the staffing it needs to handle the end-of-summer rush.

Put employees at ease about taking time off.

You offer PTO for a reason! Workers who actually take their vacation time have been shown to be happier, more productive, and less likely to leave their jobs. 57% of surveyed Americans in the Work and Well-Being Survey report feeling more motivated and less stressed after returning from a vacation.

Still, some employees may be hesitant to take a step back from work and use their PTO because they’re worried about falling behind at work or impacting the rest of the team. Reassure employees that it’s okay to take a break and that their jobs will be waiting for them when they return. Also, if possible, encourage workers to unplug during their vacation to get the most out of it — that means no checking emails!

Let them know you understand how important it is to take some time for themselves and empower them to use their PTO to recharge and come back feeling refreshed.

Make the office an enjoyable environment.

A happy workforce is a productive workforce. If your employees are coming into the office every day feeling stressed or unmotivated, it’s time for a change.

Creating a positive and enjoyable environment should be a top priority for any business owner. There are many ways to make the office more enjoyable, but here are a few key things to keep in mind:

Show your employees that you appreciate them. A simple thank you goes a long way. You can also give employees regular feedback and recognition for a job well done. In addition, you can promote a healthy work-life balance by creating opportunities for socializing and team building. Encourage people to take breaks throughout the day to chat with co-workers, and plan occasional office parties or outings.

You can also try to make the office itself more pleasant — add some plants or artwork, or create a decompression area where people can relax and unwind. By making small changes, you can have a big impact on your team’s happiness — and productivity.

If the mountain of summer PTO requests is casting a shadow over you, it may be time to outsource your payroll. guHRoo can help you establish policies for PTO requests, streamline payroll, and ensure your company is ready for anything. Visit our website or give us a call today to learn more.