June 1, 2015

Holy Cow! It’s June Already: Do You Have Your Summer Vacation Schedule Planned at Work?

By Paul Bieber

You might have your own schedule ready, but what about the folks you work with? Have they given you their schedules? Are two key people planning on the same week? Are three people in your installation team planning on the week of July 4? Leaving you with two workers, one of whom doesn’t have a driver’s license?

Sure, I am predicting headaches. Experience has taught me that without careful scheduling, these headaches will be there. You know that you should have looked at this in February, but thought you had plenty of time. Oops… it is now summer. Everyone was supposed to send their requests to you or the personnel department by March 1, and most did. Now, what do you do with the senior foreman who wants the same week off as his second-in-command? You want to say no, as he didn’t get in line. But you know he will throw a fit and make your life horrible. You figure you can run the department with both men out, but you are forgetting about Murphy’s law, which is dead-certain to bite you in the tail.

And, how come last year when you promised you wouldn’t get into this problem this year, you are in this problem? It is too late to worry about that now. Let’s solve today’s problem. Tell your senior foreman “NO.” Put up with this childish behavior and then tell him to put a sock in it. The decision is finished, and that you expect him to act as a leader and not a child. Do this, and the word will filter through your company that you mean business about getting vacation requests in timely.

For the two that did put in timely requests, you do need to honor their wishes, but get the foreman of that group to take on the extra effort, with you supporting him. That is what a foreman is for!

Did I say “Cross-training?” Sure I did. If you have been cross-training throughout the year, this scheduling hiccup is no big deal. You even have time to start now, right now. Next Monday move some people around so they learn new skills. Both in your shop and in your office. Every good employee will be eager to both learn a new skill and to teach others. Anyone who resists this should be counseled on the importance to your company.

Do you allow people to work through their vacation? Some companies do allow folks with two or more weeks to work through one week. Don’t forget, when you do this, you are increasing your payroll from 52 weeks paid to 53 weeks paid. Never allow a person who handles money to work through his vacation. You definitely want a another qualified person filling in here as a substitute, which is the number one way to spot or prevent internal fraud.

Bottom line, get a big calendar, write everyone’s vacation schedule on it, see where the conflicts occur and start training folks to fill in.  Remember, nothing is worse than taking a vacation and coming back to a desk full of work. Don’t let that happen to the folks in your office.