MT Expert's Ten Top Tips: How to minimise Royal Wedding disruption in the office

Been overwhelmed with holiday requests by employees excited at the prospect of 11 days off?? Use our tips to avoid letting Wills'n'Kate's big day get the better of you.

by Phil Booth
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013
The UK’s currently in the grip of Royal Wedding fever (well – parts of it are, anyway). Part of that excitement is, naturally, at the prospect of having two consecutive Bank Holiday weekends. It’s likely that the minute the news broke about a potential 11-day break, absence requests flooded offices, perhaps leaving some businesses with multiple employees requesting the same time off for an extended holiday and, as a result, may be unprepared for this busy period.

Undoubtedly, employee time-off plays a big role in maintaining morale and motivation in the office. But it’s still important to have the resources to manage the business, especially as companies enter their growth phase. While most companies who recognise Bank Holidays will be giving the Royal Wedding off, managers need to determine who will get the time off to ensure a balance is achieved between an employee’s personal needs with that of the business, so organisations aren’t left in the lurch when the end of April arrives.

MT asked OfficeTeam’s Phil Booth for his advice on managing those Royal Wedding holiday requests.

1. Create a policy
An established policy that stipulates how holiday requests are granted – by seniority or on a first-come, first-served basis – will help manage employee expectations.

2. Communicate
Having an open discussion with employees about business demands and the need to maintain a certain level of manpower will help support your holiday request policy, and reinforce how their contributions are a valuable component to the functioning of the company.

3. Make it fair
To ensure employees feel valued regardless of tenure, consider a system where annual leave for major holidays is allocated in an equitable fashion. If an employee works during the royal celebrations, they will have first shot at requesting leave during other popular times.

4. Write it down
A holiday planner can help employees take ownership of their annual leave and avoid conflicting requests. Consider posting a calendar in a common room or use a shared folder online.

5. Manage sick days
Time off policies should also address how sick days are granted, including requests that fall on a holiday. While employers should trust their teams, outlining expectations and consequences will help managers maintain consistency and show employees that certain behaviour will not be tolerated.
 
6. Start Early
To ensure work is completed without disruption, create a flow chart of tasks and delegate accordingly. Planning early will ensure deadlines are met and productivity maintained.

7. Pitch In
A good leader looks out for the greater good and is prepared to help out wherever needed.  Doing so will demonstrate a team mentality and will prove to employees that their manager cares about them and their well being.

8. Say ‘yes’ if you can
Unless stipulated in an employee’s contract, it isn’t mandatory to give bank holidays or specific dates for annual leave. Being able to do so as often as possible however will help promote morale and productivity. Even so, there will be times when you’ll still have to say no.

9. Enlist help
For business-critical roles, consider bringing in temporary or interim help to manage workloads. This will help keep business running smoothly during busy times and minimise disruption.

10. Schedule festivities
If staff are required to come into work, try to make it as enjoyable as possible by bringing in a television and organising lunch. Closing early or arranging an evening social event can also make employees feel valued.

- Phil Booth is the director of office services company Office Team.

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