1. Plan for gaps. Requests for time off can be hard to refuse but it’s important to ensure you maintain a skeleton staff to make sure the office continues to function properly. ‘Advance planning, and encouraging teams to work out a fair solution between them if there is a clash, can mitigate against this becoming a serious problem,’ says Lena Sabbagh, director of development at HR consultancy Penna.
2. Could you close? It’s not an option for most businesses, but if your customers aren’t going to mind then you might consider taking a leaf out of the manufacturers’ book and closing down for a couple of weeks during August, as the digger maker JCB does.
3. Be flexible. It’s bad enough being stuck at your desk while everyone else is away without your boss zealously holding you to an unwavering 40-hour work week. ‘If people have the time to start a little bit later or leave a bit earlier to enjoy their summer evenings there’s no harm in it – as long as what needs to get done gets done,’ says Lisa Pantelli, director of employee engagement consultancy People Lab. Relinquishing a couple of hours a week can pay off in spades if it makes staff that little bit more productive.
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