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Has lockdown left your firm with an annual leave backlog?

Friday, 23 Oct 2020

Our entire working and living structure has changed in the face of the global pandemic; it’s affected both our jobs, and the way we enjoy time off.

Summer holidays have been backed up because of lockdown

Millions of people across the country have been forced to cancel or postpone trips as a result of travel disruption and quarantine regulations. And while some employees swapped overseas plans for staycations, others decided to bank their annual leave.

The decision to work through the summer has created a time off backlog for many employers. This needs to be addressed quickly and effectively, to avoid a last-minute rush before the holiday year ends.

Working straight through the summer

It hasn’t been easy to plan ahead in 2020, and this has directly impacted many people’s annual leave arrangements. Measures like two-week quarantines for overseas travellers, local lockdowns and the introduction of ‘the rule of six’ have forced people to postpone their summer holiday – or cancel it altogether.

While some households have made the best of a bad situation and taken time off at home, others have decided to work instead, and re-credit their holiday entitlement. Understandably, they want to wait until restrictions have eased. But what does this mean for employers?

Beware the lockdown leave backlog

We’re coming to the end of the holiday year for many companies, and staff may still have unclaimed time off. While this happens every year, incidents will be higher in 2020, as employees hold onto a ‘lockdown leave backlog’, which can result in two scenarios:

Managing staff leave can be stressful at the best of times

1 – A last minute rush of leave requests, as staff take time off before the holiday year ends

2 – Employees want to carry over unused leave, in hope of greater travel freedom next year

Neither of these situations are ideal, as they leave companies vulnerable to being short staffed during busy trading periods, or upset valued staff members who can’t carry over leave.

In fact, businesses without a proper leave management structure in place could create major operational and HR issues – which can be easily avoided with the right technology.

Don't defer days off

After tough trading conditions in 2020, companies need their most important people ready and available to offer good service. A sudden influx of leave requests could leave firms under-staffed; managers need to know exactly who can be off and for how long, without absence impacting productivity.

Some organisations feel the easiest way to solve this problem is letting staff roll over unclaimed leave into 2021. However, this only defers the problem. With even more time off in their entitlement, team members will book off key dates for next year, creating potential staff shortages further down the line.

One of the biggest challenges in this scenario is that companies don’t use a central calendar to manage days off. With spreadsheet, email or paper-based request systems in place, managers can’t always see who has booked time off, or how many days’ leave each team member has left to take. This level of detail is only possible if businesses manage leave online.

Visibility and simplicity

The most effective way to manage post-lockdown leave requests is to look for an affordable online holiday calendar. This will channel all holiday bookings centrally, and give every staff member instant access to their personal holiday records.

Overtime management

By taking leave management online, your business can give team members the power to check how much time off they have left to take, and who has booked time off already, before they submit a leave request. All this information makes for a smoothly-run holiday calendar – especially if the software includes a mobile app for managing holiday requests.

In addition, you can digitise the leave approval process, so managers are notified whenever there is a new submission to approve. Once they’ve responded to the alert, the person who submitted the request is notified. This makes it much simpler to coordinate leave, even when there is a sudden influx of requests – and it reduces under-staffing and calendar clashes.

Flexing the rules

Another key benefit to managing staff holiday online is the flexibility it gives you regarding annual leave policies. 2020 has been an unprecedented year, so your business may want to allow time off to be carried over into 2021.

Yearly breakdown allowance reporting

Rather than relying on managerial and HR staff to remember new rollover rules, staff entitlements can be changed instantly through digital software. Limits can be set around how much leave can be taken into 2021 – and every member of your workforce can see their entitlement when they log on.

Get back on track with WhosOff

Every company has negotiated unforeseen logistical challenges this year, and new obstacles are constantly emerging. While some issues are unavoidable, others – like constantly changing staff holiday plans – can be managed much better with the right technology.

WhosOff is a UK-based technology provider, helping organisations across the world to manage team holiday plans using leave management software. And our users are finding it hugely beneficial to channel post-lockdown leave requests through an online platform.

To see first-hand how our online holiday planner works, book a free trial.

Sign up for your FREE Trial today

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio,Anugrah Lohiya,Lukas of Pexels.com

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Posted by Callum Ellis

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