5 Tips to Help Employers Avoid Holiday Scheduling Headaches

October 26, 2015

holiday scheduling for your businessFor most businesses, the end of the year can be hectic. Employees who scramble to use their vacation time during the holidays can leave businesses short-handed. As a result, it can create a scheduling headache as employers try to balance worker requests for time off with the need to stay adequately staffed.

So how do employers deal with holiday scheduling? Here are five time-tested guidelines for preparing a holiday work schedule. Follow these so you’re not left with an empty office or a group of disgruntled employees:

1. Lay Down the Ground Rules Well in Advance

Before anything else, clearly spell out holiday work requirements and scheduling practices. Put the holiday policy in writing and ensure every employee reads and understands it. Doing so will avoid many problems. Publish reminders every six months before peak vacation-request times and consider posting a schedule showing who is taking what time off.

2. Specify Blackout Dates

The hard truth is there are some businesses, particularly in the health care, safety, and retail sectors, whose employees have to work while others are home with their families. Conflict can usually be avoided by communicating such issues at the time of hiring and providing regular reminders.

3. Plan for Conflict

It is inevitable that conflicts will arise if the number of employees requesting vacation exceeds the minimum coverage threshold. To avoid hurt feelings, it is important that you establish an equitable process for resolving such matters.

4. Consider a Compressed Workweek

Instead of scheduling five eight-hour days, give employees the option of working four 10-hour days. This will free up extra time for staff to enjoy the holidays. If you can spare it, particularly if most of your clients tend to clear out at the end of the year, you may want to consider closing for a week. Chances are your clients won’t miss you, but you should have someone on call just in case.

5. Respect Diversity

Although Christmas tends to get the most attention, many religions have some form of year-end celebration. Your vacation policies should accommodate diverse religious beliefs.

It is important that you take a positive approach whenever discussing the time-off policy with employees. Emphasize the consideration that went into establishing a system that is both fair and functional. Remember that you are dealing with people and there are no absolutes. Everyone on your staff will have to be flexible.

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Topics: Business Operations, Management, Human Resources

Kay Oder


Kay Oder has owned six companies, has been a resource to thousands to businesses and brought solutions to help business owners minimize risk, improve business performance and navigate today’s highly regulated and complex “business of being an employer”.

Today, Kay uses the insights gained throughout her career as a speaker, business owner and business advisor. Audiences enjoy her candid, informed perspective on HR related topics as well as her razor-sharp southern wit.

Kay is also a Certified Business Performance Advisor with Insperity, the $2.6 billion business performance solutions provider she has called home since 1993. Kay has consistently been among the company’s top producers during her 20 plus years with the organization, earning Insperity’s highest honors, including the Top Volume, Circle of Excellence and the Chairman’s Club awards.

Prior to Insperity, Kay was the President and Co-founder of Texas Valve Specialists, a supplier in the oil and gas industry. She has also owned companies in the construction, demolition, machining and promotional apparel arenas. She spent four years as a client of Insperity and upon selling her last venture, joined the Insperity team.

From an early age Kay demonstrated an entrepreneurial spirit, beginning at age six when she sold cantaloupes from her parents’ front yard, which she offered three for fifty-cents, with a free puppy.

Kay and her husband, Dale, relocated to Austin from the Houston area in 1996 when a theft occurred in their family: their granddaughter was born and stole their hearts, so they had to follow.

Insperity, a trusted advisor to America’s best businesses for more than 30 years, provides an array of human resources and business solutions designed to help improve business performance. Insperity® Business Performance Advisors offer the most comprehensive suite of products and services available in the marketplace. Insperity delivers administrative relief, better benefits, reduced liabilities and a systematic way to improve productivity through its premier Workforce Optimization® solution. Additional company offerings include Human Capital Management, Payroll Services, Time and Attendance, Performance Management, Organizational Planning, Recruiting Services, Employment Screening, Financial Services, Expense Management, Retirement Services and Insurance Services. Insperity business performance solutions support more than 100,000 businesses with over 2 million employees. With 2016 revenues of $2.9 billion, Insperity operates in 61 offices throughout the United States. For more information, call 800-465-3800 or visit www.insperity.com.

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