Paid time off (PTO) is essential to your team members’ mental and physical health and well-being. But you also have to balance PTO requests against operational needs. Here are three ways to better manage these requests and ensure that your employees get all the time off they deserve.
Implementing Clear Policies
The first step is to create clear, written policies for all PTO requests. Make sure you specify how to submit a request, how far in advance it must be submitted, and whether there are any restricted dates for which requests cannot be approved. Also, develop a fair policy for dealing with overlapping requests—when two or more employees want the same days off.
Some companies go by seniority, granting the request to whomever has been with the company the longest. But this can feel unfair, especially if your senior employees always take off the same prime weeks. Instead, consider a first-come, first-served policy, in which the employee who puts in their request the earliest gets the time off.
Utilizing Advanced Scheduling Tools
If you only have a handful of employees, written requests and basic calendars may suffice. But the more team members you have, the more likely it is that errors will occur. To reduce the risk of being caught short-handed, choose a leave management software program to handle all of your PTO requests. These programs let you see at a glance who will be off when, while also tracking their remaining PTO balances for the year, quarter, or pay period.
Modeling Healthy Work-Life Balance
Some companies have the opposite problem…employees simply don’t use their PTO. And this is a recipe for burnout. If you are struggling to get your team members to take their well-earned time off, take a hard look in the mirror. Are you taking regular time off? Do you fully disconnect when you are away from the office? Have you built a company culture that prioritizes a healthy work-life balance?
Your employees will take their cues from you. So make sure that you practice healthy habits, including taking time off on a regular basis. At work, talk up the benefits of work-life balance, and don’t be afraid to question employees who have no vacations on the books. Over time, your team members should start to feel more comfortable making reasonable PTO requests.
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